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Metabolism of an Organothiocyanate Allelochemical by Glutathione Transferase in Three Lepidopterous Insects

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Glutathione transferase metabolism of the organothiocyanate allelochemical benzyl thiocyanate was studied in larvae of three lepidopterous species—the fall army worm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith)), cabbage looper(Trichoplusia ni (Hübner)), and velvet bean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner)—using the midgut soluble fraction as the enzyme source. Glutathione transferase from all three species metabolized benzyl thiocyanate, with the cabbage looper being more active. Enzyme activity was inducible by dietary indole 3-acetonitrile, indole 3-carbinol, flavone, xanthotoxin, and benzyl thiocyanate. The insecticide Lethane 384 (2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethyl thiocyanate) was also a substrate for the transferase in the fall army worm, but activity could only be detected after induction with indole 3-acetonitrile. Toxicity tests revealed that benzyl thiocyanate was acutely toxic to neonate larvae of the three lepidopterans; the velvet bean caterpillar was the most susceptible of the three.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1988

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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