Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 77–84 | Cite as

Carbon balance and energetics of cyooprotectant synthesis in a freeze-tolerant insect: responses to perturbation by anoxia

  • Janet M. Storey
  • Kenneth B. Storey


The capacity for polyol synthesis by larvae of Eurosta solidaginis was evaluated under aerobic versus anoxic (N2 gas atmosphere) conditions. Glycerol production occurred readily in aerobic larvae at 13°C. Under anoxic conditions, however, net glycerol accumulation was only 57% of the aerobic value after 18 d, but the total hydroxyl equivalents available for cryoprotection were balanced by the additional synthesis of sorbitol. The efficiency of carbon conversion to polyols was much lower in anaerobic larvae. The ATP requirement of glycerol biosynthesis necessitated a 22% greater consumption of carbohydrate, when anaerobic and resulted in the accumulation of equimolar amounts of l-lactate and l-alanine as fermentative end products. The ratio of polyols produced to glycolytic end products formed was consistent with the use of the hexose monophosphate shunt to generate the reducing equivalents needed for cryoprotectant synthesis. A comparable experiment analyzed sorbitol synthesis at 3°C under aerobic versus anoxic conditions. Sorbitol synthesis was initiated more rapidly in anaerobic larvae, and the final sorbitol levels attained after 18 d were 60% higher than in aerobic larvae. The enhanced sorbitol output under anoxia may be due to an obligate channeling of a high percentage of total carbon flow through the hexose monophosphate shunt at 3°C. Carbon processed in this way generates NADPH which, along with the NADH output of glycolysis, must be reoxidized if anaerobic ATP synthesis is to continue. Redox balance within the hexose monophosphate shunt is maintained through NADPH consumption in the synthesis of sorbitol.

Key words

Eurosta solidaginis Hexose monophosphate shunt Anaerobic metabolism Cryoprotectant synthesis Freeze-tolerant insects 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet M. Storey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kenneth B. Storey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BiochemistryCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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