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Development and Validation of a Quick Easily Used Biochemical Assay for Evaluating the Viability of Small Immobile Arthropods

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Abstract:

Quickly, accurately, and easily assessing the efficacy of treatments to control sessile arthropods (e.g., scale insects) and stationary immature life stages (e.g., eggs and pupae) is problematic because it is difficult to tell whether treated organisms are alive or dead. Current approaches usually involve either maintaining organisms in the laboratory to observe them for development, gauging their response to physical stimulation, or assessing morphological characters such as turgidity and color. These can be slow, technically difficult, or subjective, and the validity of methods other than laboratory rearing has seldom been tested. Here, we describe development and validation of a quick easily used biochemical colorimetric assay for measuring the viability of arthropods that is sufficiently sensitive to test even very small organisms such as white fly eggs. The assay was adapted from a technique for staining the enzyme hexokinase to signal the presence of adenosine triphosphate in viable specimens by reducing a tetrazolium salt to formazan. Basic laboratory facilities and skills are required for production of the stain, but no specialist equipment, expertise, or facilities are needed for its use.

Keywords: ATP; biochemical viability assay; colorimetric; phytosanitary treatment; quarantine

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13028

Publication date: October 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • 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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