Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 2517–2527

Ethyl m-Digallate from Red Maple, Acer rubrum L., as the Major Resistance Factor to Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria Hbn.


  • Mamdouh M. Abou-Zaid
    • Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest ServiceGreat Lakes Forestry Centre
  • Blair V. Helson
    • Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest ServiceGreat Lakes Forestry Centre
  • Constance Nozzolillo
    • Ottawa-Carleton Institute of BiologyUniversity of Ottawa
  • J. Thor Arnason
    • Ottawa-Carleton Institute of BiologyUniversity of Ottawa

DOI: 10.1023/A:1013683600211

Cite this article as:
Abou-Zaid, M.M., Helson, B.V., Nozzolillo, C. et al. J Chem Ecol (2001) 27: 2517. doi:10.1023/A:1013683600211


An ethanolic extract of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) leaves (RME) applied to trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) leaves reduced feeding in choice test assays with forest tent caterpillar larvae (Malacosoma disstria Hbn.) (FTC), whereas a trembling aspen foliage extract, similarly applied, stimulated feeding. Compounds isolated from the RME were gallic acid, methyl gallate, ethyl gallate, m-digallate, ethyl m-digallate, 1-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, 1-O-galloyl-α-L-rhamnose, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-galactoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-L-rhamnoside, kaempferol-3-O-rhamnoglucoside, quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucoside, quercetin 3-O-β-L-rhamnoside and quercetin 3-O-rhamnoglucoside, (−)-epicatechin, (+)-catechin and ellagic acid. All of the gallates, (−)-epicatechin, and kaempferol 3-O-β-L-rhamnoside deterred feeding on trembling aspen leaf disks when applied at 0.28 mg/cm2. The two digallates deterred feeding by 90% and were the most effective. HPLC analysis indicated that ethyl m-digallate is present in amounts 10–100 × higher in RME (∼2.5–250 mg/g) than any other compound. Thus, ethyl m-digallate appears to be the major compound protecting red maple from feeding by FTC, with a minor contribution from other gallates.

Acer rubrum L., red mapleA. saccharum L., sugar mapleAceraceaePopulus tremuloides Michx., trembling aspenSalicaceaeMalacosoma disstria Hubnerforest tent caterpillarLepidopteraLasiocampidaefeeding deterrencephenolicsgallatesflavonols

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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001