Master of Science (MS)
An investigation was conducted to identify volatiles associated with active Formosan termites. Using a combined technique of short path thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (SPTD-GC/MS), qualitative comparisons were made between compounds detected in treatments containing active Formosan termites versus those detected in controls without Formosan termites. Except for dimethyl disulfide, none of the compounds were consistently detected in the treatments but not the controls for the four termite groups tested. However, in each of the three groups that dimethyl disulfide was detected, dead termites that were decomposing along with active termites were present. Therefore, none of the compounds could be classified as volatiles associated with active Formosan termites. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons were made between compounds detected in treatments that contained carton nests with active Formosan termites and controls that contained neither Formosan termites nor carton nests. Two methods were used, one using unwashed Nalgene 550 platinum-cured silicone tubing and the other using unwashed fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) teflon tubing in the experimental set-up. Qualitative analysis for both methods indicated that none of the compounds could be consistently detected in treatments but not the controls. Quantitative analysis for both methods indicated that the concentrations of naphthalene, and butylated hydroxytoluene and nine unknown volatiles were not significantly different between the treatments and controls at the 0.01 level as determined by the paired t-test. Therefore, using the methods described herein, none of the analyzed compounds could be classified as volatiles associated with active Formosan termites. However, changes in the methods may enable the detection of volatiles associated with active Formosan termites. The concentrations of three suspect reporter molecules, which include naphthalene and two unknown compounds, were significantly lower using fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) teflon tubing than using unwashed Nalgene 550 platinum-cured silicone tubing in the experimental set-up as determined by 95% confidence intervals. This suggested that a source of these volatiles was unwashed silicone tubing, which was relevant to this study because it aided in the determining whether the volatiles are associated with active Formosan termites.
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McLaughlin, Paul, "Volatiles associated with Formosan subterranean termites and related methods development" (2004). LSU Master's Theses. 2457.