Effect of Cotton Bollworm (Helicoverpa Armigera Hübner) Caused Injury on Maize Grain Content, Especially Regarding to the Protein Alteration
The cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera Hübner), which migrated in the Carpathian-basin from Mediterraneum in the last decades, is becoming an increasingly serious problem for maize producers in Hungary. In several regions the damage it causes has reached the threshold of economic loss, especially in the case of the sweet maize cultivation. The aim of the research was to determine the changing of ears weights and in-kernel accumulation and alteration in grain as a function of cotton bollworm mastication.
Our investigation confirmed that there is an in-kernel and protein pattern change of maize grain by cotton bollworm. Our results proved the significant damaging of each part of ears by cotton bollworm masticating (the average weight loss of ears: 13.99%; the average weight loss of grains: 14.03%; the average weight loss of cobs: 13.74%), with the exception of the increasing of the grain-cob ratio. Our examinations did not prove the water loss–that is the “forced maturing”–caused by the damage. Decreasing of raw fat (control: 2.8%; part-damaged: 2.6%; damaged: 2.4%) and starch content (control: 53.1%; part-damaged: 46.6%; damaged: 44.7%) were registered as a function of injury. In contrast, the raw protein content was increased (control: 4.7%; part-damaged: 5.3%; damaged: 7.4%) by maize ear masticating. The most conspicuous effect on protein composition changing was proved by comparison of damaged grain samples by SDS PAGE. Increased amounts of 114, 50, 46 and 35 kDa molecular mass proteins were detected which explained the more than 50% elevation of raw protein content. The statistical analysis of molecular weights proved the protein realignment as a function of the pest injuries, too.
KeywordsMaize cotton bollworm injury grain content protein pattern
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