Essential Oils as Post-Harvest Crop Protectants against the Fruit Fly Drosophila suzukii: Bioactivity and Organoleptic Profile

Insects. 2020 Aug 5;11(8):508. doi: 10.3390/insects11080508.


The essential oils extracted from mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) fruits, and from tea tree (Maleleuca alternifolia (Maiden and Betche) Cheel) leaves have been chemically analyzed and tested for their bioactivity against D. suzukii. Besides, to estimate consumers' acceptability of the essential oil (EO) treatments, we evaluated their impact on the organoleptic characteristics of the EO-treated fruits. The main chemical constituents of the two EOs were 1,8-cineole and 4-terpineol for M. alternifolia (22.4% and 17.6% of the total components, respectively), and limonene (83.6% of the total components) for C. reticulata. The behavioral tests indicate that the two EOs are able to deter D. suzukii oviposition and that D. suzukii shows positive chemotaxis to low concentrations of the EOs and negative chemotaxis when the EO concentration increases. While no negative effects on the organoleptic profiles were detected for fruits treated with C. reticulata EO, the olfactory profile of fruits treated with M. alternifolia EO was so negative that they were defined as "not suitable for consumption" by panellists. Overall, our findings indicate that the use of EOs for the post-harvest protection of small fruits is feasible, provided that the essential oils are selected not only for their bioactivity against the insect pest but also for their affinity with the consumers' sensorial system.

Keywords: attractiveness; mandarin; organoleptic profile; oviposition deterrence; repellence; spotted-wing drosophila; tea tree.