Developing non-insecticide control of coding moth and related pests using the synthetic moth sex pheromones for South Wales fresh food production – PhD Scholarship

Ymddiheurwn, nid yw’r testun ar gael yn y Gymraeg ar hyn o bryd

Developing non-insecticide control of coding moth and related pests using the synthetic moth sex pheromones for South Wales fresh food production


Location: Cardiff University School of Chemistry

  • Academic Contacts: Prof RK Allemann and Prof J Pickett
  • Project ID: 517886
  • Annual Stipend: £14,628
  • Application Deadline: 01 March 2020

Project Description:

This PhD project in the School of Chemistry, in collaboration with the commercial partner Lisk & Jones Consultants Ltd will research the development of high-performance sex pheromone pest control for fresh fruit and vegetables in the South Wales region.

This will replace use of insecticides and, using innovative chemistry for production of the pheromones, will develop their farm use, with the partner. You will gain excellent experience in sustainable and environmentally friendly pest control for commercially important food crops.


Codling moth, the most destructive insect pest of apples, will be targeted first with the pheromone Codlemone synthesised by a new route designed to give the high purity required for maximum performance in moth attraction. Initially the pheromone will be used for monitoring pest populations, but subsequent development with the partner will lead to direct control of the pest in commercial orchards by mating disruption. Eventually the technology will also be applied to other related crop pests.

The project will involve chemical synthesis, advanced analytical techniques for pheromone characterisation and novel formulation for stability and slow release in orchards. The work will extend from laboratory to field with close engagement with the partner and the fresh food industry.

Aims and methods

Synthesis of codling moth, Cydia pomonella, sex pheromone, Codlemone, (E,E)-8,10-dodecdienol, by Diels-Alder cyclisation gives pure isomer for sustainable scale-up and field testing. Advanced chromatography and spectroscopy in further chromatographic purification will maximise male attraction and pest specificity. Formulation incorporates the pheromone into biodegradable natural polymers together with UV protectants for season-long pest control. Partner and wider commercial involvement will ensure final product compatibility with sustainable farm use in the South Wales region.

The project will involve:

  • standard synthesis of Codlemone – testing in standard formulation
  • synthesis by new route for isomeric purity – testing
  • chromatographic purification – testing in comparison with tethered female moths
  • specification of pheromone production method and purity agreed (year 1)
  • development of advanced formulations – testing for pest monitoring
  • specification of best lure for monitoring agreed (year 2)
  • advanced formulations for direct pest control – testing of formulations in direct control
  • specification of best formulation for direct control agreed with partner and wider industry
  • stakeholder meeting, planning commercialisation opportunities for region following on (year 3).

To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in the convergence area of Wales (West Wales and the Valleys) on registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.