Coniferyl Alcohol

A small example, similar to the conversion of pyrrolizidine alkaloids to male copulating pheromones by some Lepidoptera, is the conversion of flower compounds to attractants by males of the oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis. These adult males feed on the fragrant flowers of Fagraea berteriana which contain (£)-3,4-dimethoxycinnamyl alcohol and smaller amounts of (£)-3,4-dimethoxycinnamyl acetate (Figure

10.14). The male flies convert these to (£)-coniferyl alcohol (Figure

10.15) and store it in rectal glands. The coniferyl alcohol is very attractive to females, although they do not appear to derive any benefits from the compound. A neat use of the simple thin layer chromatography plate to locate the position of the attractive compounds on the plate with the fruit flies is illustrated in Figure 10.16.

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