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Insecticidal activity of a protein extracted from bulbs of Phycella australis Ravenna against the aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris and Myzus persicae Sulzer

Nelson Zapata1*, Els J.M. Van Damme2, Marisol Vargas1, Luis Devotto3, and Guy Smagghe2

Aphids cause significant losses in many agricultural crops and in many cases cause repeated insecticide sprays, which increase the risk of resistance. Therefore, other alternatives are needed to control them. The toxic, anti-reproductive, and feeding deterrent effects of a mannose-binding lectin isolated from bulbs of Phycella australis Ravenna (Amaryllidaceae), named Phycella australis-agglutinin (PAA) was assayed on nymphs of the aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris and Myzus persicae Sulzer fed with an artificial diet. After 72 h of PAA exposure, lethal concentration (LC50) values were 109 and 313 µg mL-1 for A. pisum and M. persicae, respectively, while LC90 values were 248 and 634 µg mL-1. Sub-lethal concentrations of PAA significantly reduced the aphid fecundity at a concentration of 80 µg mL-1. Only a total of 5.7 descendants per female were recorded for A. pisum (32% control progeny) and 12.4 for M. persicae (39% control progeny). Acyrthosiphon pisum was strongly deterred by PAA under choice conditions, as after 72 h exposed to 80 µg PAA mL-1 of diet, the feeding deterrent index was 0.91 for A. pisum and only 0.38 for M. persicae. In conclusion, the mannose-binding lectin isolated from bulbs of P australis showed acute and chronical insecticidal activity against the pea and green peach aphids

Key words: Aphid control, botanical insecticides, entomotoxic proteins, lectins.

1Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Agronomía, Av. Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile. *Corresponding author (nzapata@udec.cl).
2University of Ghent, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure Link 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
3Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Quilamapu, Av. Vicente Méndez 515, Chillán, Chile.

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