Synergistic effect of piperonyl butoxide and emamectin benzoate on enzymatic activities in resistant populations of red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum Herbst (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

  • Daud Ahmad Awan
  • Faheem AhmadEmail author
  • Mushtaq A. Saleem
  • Abdul Rauf Shakoori
Research Article


Resistance to grain protectants in Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) is a serious threat to international grain trade. Frequent and overdose application of chemical insecticides is becoming a serious health hazard and cause environmental pollution. Resistance management approaches by using various synergists along with novel compounds has become more imperative to increase efficacy of environmentally safe insecticides. We have evaluated piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and emamectin benzoate mixtures for management of resistant field populations of T. castaneum. The collected strains had demonstrated 50 to 200% resistance already developed against emamectin benzoate as compared with deltamethrin susceptible reference strain. The inclusion of PBO along with emamectin significantly reduced this resistance by at least 28% and the LC50 were lowered from 5.12 to 1.9 μg/ml with the highest synergism ration of 2.7 in resistant strain. Enzymatic assays clearly demonstrated that the specific activities of catalase and acetylcholinesterases were significantly decreased at an average of 80% and 60%, respectively, when PBO was included as a synergist at 1:2 ratio with emamectin benzoate. The results highlight the mechanism that renders the field population resistant to emamectin benzoate and suggests the synergistic role of piperonyl butoxide as a potent additive in grain protectants for resistance management.


Enzyme inhibition Resistance management Grain protection Acetylcholinesterases Cross-resistance 



The authors strongly acknowledge the much-needed financial support, encouragement, and cooperation from Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan to conduct this part of Ph.D. research work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4812_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 27 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Department of BiosciencesCOMSATS University Islamabad (CUI)IslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of Central PunjabLahorePakistan

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