Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 927–946

Alleviation of α-tomatine-induced toxicity to the parasitoid,Hyposoter exiguae, by phytosterols in the diet of the host,Heliothis zea

  • Bruce C. Campbell
  • Sean S. Duffey

DOI: 10.1007/BF00987618

Cite this article as:
Campbell, B.C. & Duffey, S.S. J Chem Ecol (1981) 7: 927. doi:10.1007/BF00987618


The solitary, endoparasitic ichneumonid,Hyposoter exiguae (Viereck) is a parasitoid of the tomato fruitworm,Heliothis zea (Boddie). However, the parasitoid is deleteriously affected by the tomato glycoalkaloid, α-tomatine, ingested from hosts (H. zea) fed on artificial diets or semipurified extracts of tomato plants that contained α-tomatine. α-Tomatine causes prolonged larval development; disruption or prevention of pupal eclosion; deformation of antennal, abdominal, and genital structures; and reduction in adult weight and longevity of the parasitoid. These toxic effects are exacerbated when the dietary dose of α-tomatine is increased from 12 μmol to 20 μmol/g dry wt of diet. However, the toxicity of α-tomatine is attenuated in parasitoids reared from hosts fed on artificial diets that contain equimolar or supramolar amounts of 3β-OH-sterols admixed with α-tomatine. Further, the toxicity of extracts from the foliage of different cultivars of tomatoes toH. exiguae is contingent upon the composite levels of α-tomatine and total phytosterol (free and esterified). Cultivars with a low total sterol-tomatine ratio are more toxic toH. exiguae. The possible mode of action of α-tomatine toxicity toH. exiguae by disruption of sterol metabolism is discussed.

Key words

Host-plant resistanceα-tomatinesterolssterol estersLycopersicon esculentumHeliothis zeaLepidopteraNoctuidaeparasitoidsHyposoter exiguaeHymenopteraIchneumonidaesecondary compounds

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce C. Campbell
    • 1
  • Sean S. Duffey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavis
  2. 2.Western Regional Research CenterUSDA, SEABerkeley