Karthikeyan joined WorldVeg as a Scientific Officer - Legume Breeding on 3 May 2017 and is based at the South Asia office in Hyderabad, India.
Of the various environmental stresses that a plant can experience, temperature has the widest and most far-reaching effects on legumes. Efforts are being made to develop temperature tolerant plant varieties via conventional breeding methods as well as more recent molecular breeding techniques. This paper describes the adverse effects of abnormal temperatures on various growth stages in legumes and proposes appropriate strategies to resolve these effects.
Previous studies on the legume pod borer, Maruca vitrata Fabricius (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), a serious pest of cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. (Fabales: Fabaceae), in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on sex pheromones, but the role of the host plant on sexual behavior has not been explored. We investigated this interaction in the laboratory using behavioral assays and chemical analyses. We found that the presence of cowpea seedlings and a dichloromethane extract of the leaf increased coupling in the legume pod borer by 33 and 61 %, respectively, compared to the control, suggesting the involvement of both contact and olfactory cues. We used coupled gas chromatography-electroantennographic detection (GC/EAD) and GC-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to identify compounds from the cowpea leaf extract, detected by M. vitrata antenna. We found that the antennae of the insect consistently detected four components, with 1-octen-3-ol identified as a common and dominant component in both the volatiles released by the intact cowpea plant and leaf extract. We therefore investigated its role in the coupling of M. vitrata. In doseresponse assays, 1-octen-3-ol increased coupling in M. vitrata with increasing dose of the compound compared to the control. Our results suggest that the cowpea volatile 1-octen-3-ol contributes to M. vitrata sexual behavior.