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Developing new tools to detect the troublesome Tribolium

Publication Type  Presentation
Year of Publication  2009
Authors  Chyb, S.; Bailey, K.; Glatz, R.
Meeting Name  

CRCNPB 2009 Science Exchange

Meeting Start Date  

22 - 24 September 2009

Meeting Location  

Sunshine Coast


Tribolium castaneum is a significant cosmopolitan pest of stored grains and related products. In order to maximise Australia’s grain export we follow a ‘zero tolerance’ for live insects. However, current methods for detection of an infestation are neither sensitive nor reliable resulting in repeated unnecessary and costly fumigations. This approach is also leading to development of phosphine-resistance in T. castaneum.


Here, we describe a novel approach to grain-pest detection based on a platform utilizing highly specific and exquisitely sensitive Tribolium olfactory receptors. Firstly, we will take advantage of the newly sequenced genome of Tribolium to identify candidate olfactory receptor genes. Secondly, we propose to express these genes in a heterologous expression system and screen against potential ligands identified by a parallel study underway in the CSIRO Entomology. The expected outcome is an identification of a number of specific ligand-receptor pairings capable of detecting presence of Tribolium in stored grain. These receptors would ultimately be incorporated as the biological front-end for biosensor-based detection systems being developed at CSIRO and elsewhere.

It is expected that research on Tribolium olfactory receptors will facilitate a better understanding of the fundamental principles of insect olfaction, which are currently under debate

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