Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 423–436 | Cite as

Microsomal oxidation of allelochemicals in generalist (Spodoptera frugiperda) and semispecialist (Anticarsia gemmatalis) insect

  • S. J. Yu


Midgut microsomes prepared from larvae of the fall armyworm [Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E Smith)], a generalist insect, and the velvetbean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis Hubner), a semispecialist, were used to study their oxidative activity toward a variety of allelochemicals. Allelochemicals such as terpenoids, alkaloids, indoles, glucosinolates, flavonoids, coumarins, cardenolides, phenylpropenes, and a ketohydrocarbon were all metabolized by the microsomal cytochrome P-450 monooxygenases in both species. Fall armyworm microsomes oxidized monoterpenes more favorably than other types of terpenes, indicating a preference for these compounds. In all instances, the oxidative metabolism of these allelochemicals can be induced by dietary allelochemicals such as indole 3-carbinol, indole 3-acetonitrile, menthol, flavone, or peppermint oil ranging from 1.3- to 9.5-fold. In the case of certain triterpenes, tetraterpene, alkaloid, coumarin, and cardenolides, metabolic activity can only be observed after induction. The monooxygenase activities toward these allelochemicals were generally higher in the generalist than in the semispecialist. These findings provide strong evidence that microsomal monooxygenases play an important role in the detoxification of plant toxins and hence host-plant selections in herbivorous insects.

Key Words

Allelochemical metabolism microsomal oxidation fall armyworm velvetbean caterpillar Spodoptera frugiperda Anticarsia gemmatalis Lepidoptera Noctuidae enzyme induction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology & NematologyUniversity of FloridaGainesville

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