Ammonia is the primary attractant for tephritid fruit flies, and traps baited with synthetic attractants using ammonia formulations have been highly successful in capturing these pests. However, difficulties in quantifying release rates of ammonia have limited abilities to make comparisons among field tests of different species by using different formulations. Therefore, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was evaluated as a method to quantify ammonia from synthetic lures. Analysis of the headspace from commercial ammonium bicarbonate and ammonium acetate lures indicated that there is a large burst of ammonia liberated upon initial exposure of the lures, but after 5–7 d the release rates stabilize and remain steady for at least 60 d under laboratory conditions. During the period of steady release, FTIR static measurements showed an average of 0.12 and 0.21 μg of ammonia per 50-ml sample from ammonium bicarbonate and ammonium acetate lures, respectively. FTIR dynamic measurements from ammonium acetate lures indicated a steady release rate of ≈200 μg/h. Ammonia release rate from ammonium acetate lures could be reduced by decreasing the surface area of the release membrane, and the presence of crystal formations on the membrane seemed to decrease the longevity of the ammonium acetate lures.
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Vol. 100 • No. 2