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The repelling effect of plant secondary metabolites on water voles, Arvicola amphibius

Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institut, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forests, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
Fischer, Daniela;
GND
1172105332
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institut, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forests, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
Imholt, Christian;
GND
1059386364
Affiliation
Julius-Kühn Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forests, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
Pelz, Hans-Joachim;
Affiliation
Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
Wink, Michael;
Affiliation
W. Neudorff GmbH KG, Emmerthal, Germany
Prokop, Andreas;
GND
122411307
Affiliation
Julius-Kühn Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forests, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
Jacob, Jens

BACKGROUND: Water voles (Arvicola amphibius Linnaeus 1758) are abundant in most parts of Germany and other European countries. They are known to cause serious damage in fruit and horticulture as well as in agriculture. Currently available repellents, scaring devices and household remedies are mostly inefficient. Tests were conducted to establish whether water voles can be repelled using plant secondary metabolites. These compounds are produced by many plant species as part of their defence against herbivores and pathogens. RESULTS: In this study, 12 volatile substances were tested in T-maze trials. The voles could choose between a test box including a test substance and a control box without odour. The extractswere considered to be repellent if the test boxwas avoided. Five potential repellents were identified: the essential oils of black pepper oil, Chinese geranium oil and onion, as well as the pure substances methyl nonyl ketone and n-valeric acid. Application of a combination of black pepper oil, Chinese geranium oil and methyl nonyl ketone did not increase efficacy. CONCLUSION: The identification of an effective water vole repellent could help to reduce damage to crops. Itmay alsominimise the use of kill traps and of rodenticides, which will be of benefit for non-target organisms.

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