Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1065–1078

Effects of Alfalfa Saponins on the Moth Spodoptera littoralis

  • Manal M. Adel
  • František Sehnal
  • Marian Jurzysta


Alfalfa saponins administered to Spodoptera littoralis in the larval diet caused prolongation of the larval and pupal stages, retarded growth, increased mortality, and reduced fecundity and fertility. At least some of these effects were probably due to digestion problems manifested by longer food retention in the gut. Preliminary data indicated that the efficiency of food utilization was not altered. Saponin aglycones exerted similar developmental derangements; medicagenic acid proved most active; hederagenin, soysaponogenol A, and soysaponogenol B exhibited moderate activities; and soysaponogenol E was inactive. It is proposed that saponins become active only when the sugar component is cleaved off by the gut glycosylases and that substrate specificity of these enzymes is decisive for the activity of ingested saponins. For example, all tested α-L-arabinopyranosyl glycosides were inactive, while the corresponding aglycones or glucosides were active. The liberated aglycones are apparently deposited in the tissues and exert post-feeding disturbances such as delay of imaginal ecdysis and reduced egg hatchability.

Alfalfa armyworm insect feeding saponins Spodoptera plant–insect relations triterpenoids 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manal M. Adel
    • 1
  • František Sehnal
    • 1
  • Marian Jurzysta
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences, and Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Osada PalacowaPulawyPoland

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