Mating disruption (MD) is widely used against the European grapevine moth (EGVM), Lobesia botrana
(Denis and Schiffermüller; Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), by installing passive dispensers or aerosol devices. The present work reports a new sampling and quantification methodology to obtain absolute data about field airborne pheromone concentration based on air samplings and sensitive chromatographic-spectroscopic methods. Samplings were performed in fields treated with passive dispensers or aerosol devices at different moments throughout the crop cycle to study how they act and how the disruption is triggered. Moreover, pheromone adsorption and releasing capacity of vine leaves were studied to elucidate their role in the disruption. Although both types of dispensers were effective in limiting the damage inflicted by EGVM, they performed differently and provided different airborne pheromone concentration profiles. Results also proved that leaves were able to adsorb and release part of the airborne pheromone acting as subsequent and additional pheromone sources. This fact could explain the different concentration profiles. Moreover, our results suggest that lower pheromone emission than that of the current passive dispensers still could provide an adequate performance in the field. Competitive mechanisms involved in MD using both dispensers, the dynamics of the airborne pheromone throughout the time and the importance of the canopy are discussed.
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