Role of Fruit Epicuticular Waxes in Preventing Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) Attachment in Different Cultivars of Olea europaea

The olive fruit fly Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) is the major pest of cultivated olives (Olea europaea L.), and a serious threat in all of the Mediterranean Region. In the present investigation, we demonstrated with traction force experiments that B. oleae female adhesion is reduced by epicuticular waxes (EWs) fruit surface, and that the olive fruit fly shows a different ability to attach to the ripe olive surface of different cultivars of O. europaea (Arbequina, Carolea, Dolce Agogia, Frantoio, Kalamata, Leccino, Manzanilla, Picholine, Nostrale di Rigali, Pendolino and San Felice) in terms of friction force and adhesion, in relation with different mean values of olive surface wettability. Cryo-scanning morphological investigation revealed that the EW present on the olive surface of the different analyzed cultivars are represented by irregular platelets varying in the orientation, thus contributing to affect the surface microroughness and wettability in the different cultivars, and consequently the olive fruit fly attachment. Further investigations to elucidate the role of EW in olive varietal resistance to the olive fruit fly in relation to the olive developmental stage and environmental conditions could be relevant to develop control methods alternative to the use of harmful pesticides.


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