Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 1161–1177 | Cite as

A new bioassay for testing plant extracts and pure compounds using red flour beetleTribolium castaneum Herbst

  • Miguel E. Alonso-Amelot
  • Jorge L. Avila
  • L. Daniel Otero
  • Flor Mora
  • Berenice Wolff


We designed a new bioassay to test plant extract activity against stored product pests. Plant compounds were added to feed disks composed of wheat flour and yeast and fed to the red flour bettle (Tribolium castaneum). By measuring insect mass, disk mass, and insect mortality over time it was possible to calculate a phagodepression index, an antifeedant index, the amount of treatment chemical ingested by the beetles, the mortality rate, and the efficiency of conversion of ingested food. The assay was performed for 60 hr to allow for possible habituation effects and to discriminate between phagodeterrency and physiological stress caused by treatments. α- and β-Pinene, eugenol, kaurenic acid, sparteine, essential oils ofMinthostachis mollis andMelaleuca quinquenervia, and extracts ofSapindus saponaria were tested. Using this assay we detected the presence of both phagodepressant and phagostimulant compounds inS. saponaria extracts, and we quantified the pronounced effects of sparteine onT. castaneum.

Key Words

Bioassay red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum Coleoptera Tenebrionidae ECI Minthostachis mollis Melaleuca quinquenervia Sapindus saponaria α-pinene β-pinene eugenol kaurenic acid sparteine phagodepression phagostimulation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel E. Alonso-Amelot
    • 1
  • Jorge L. Avila
    • 1
  • L. Daniel Otero
    • 1
  • Flor Mora
    • 1
  • Berenice Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.Grupo de Química Ecológica, Departamento de Química Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Los AndesMéridaVenezuela

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