Spotted-wing drosophila repellants from anthracnose-infected fruit

Figure 1. Ethyl butanoate and ethyl (E)-but-2-enoate show equal or greater repulsion of D. suzukii adults to blueberries compared to 3 known repellents vs. control. Non-responders are D. suzukii adults that did not make a choice between any group of blueberries. Adapted from Fig 5. Rering CC. et al. (2023).

Invention Summary:

Spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a highly destructive pest of thin-skinned fruits, such as berries and cherries, causing global economic losses in agriculture. Current solutions to control these pests include chemical insecticides, biological control agents, and semiochemicals. Despite these solutions, there remains a significant need for low-cost alternatives that maintain aversion efficacy, low volatility, and avoid phytotoxicity.

Rutgers researchers, in collaboration with the USDA, have identified two volatile compounds derived from anthracnose-infected blueberries – ethyl butanoate and ethyl (E)-but-2-enoate – which most potently repel spotted-wing drosophila. These compounds significantly reduced fly capture to the same degree, or better than, known repellents such as 1-octen-3-ol, geosmin, and 2-pentylfuran. A dose-response curve further showed increased repulsion and reduced oviposition, or egg-laying, to treatment with ethyl butanoate and ethyl (E)-but-2-enoate when treated separately or in a 1:1 blended formulation. 

Market Applications:

•   Crop protection
•   Insect repellent (household & agriculture)


•   High efficacy and consistent repulsion
•   Deters oviposition (egg-laying)
•   Cost-effective, readily available reagents
•   Alternative to pesticides & insecticides


Intellectual Property & Development Status: Provisional patent application filed, patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. For any business development and other collaborative partnerships contact 

Publications: Rering CC, Quadrel A, Urbaneja-Bernat P, Beck JJ, Ben-Zvi Y, Khodadadi F, Aćimović SG, Rodriguez-Saona C. Blueberries infected with the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum fioriniae release odors that repel Drosophila suzukii. Pest Manag Sci. 2023 Dec;79(12):4906-4920. doi: 10.1002/ps.7692. Epub 2023 Aug 14. PMID: 37545181. 

Patent Information:
Maricely Ramírez-Hernández
Licensing Manager
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey