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Tri-trophic effect on predator feeding: consumption by the carabid Harpalus affinis of Heliothis armigera caterpillars fed on proteinase inhibitor-containing diet

Publiceringsår: 1999
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 113-116
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Volym: 93
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Kluwer


During the breeding of our major crop plants for high

yield and edibility, several desirable traits, including

resistance to pest insects, have been lost (Gatehouse

et al., 1991). Genetic engineering is now vigorously

seeking to reinsert such genes into crop plants, making

them toxic or less palatable for herbivorous pests. One

class of inhibitors under study are protease/proteinase

inhibitors. The major digestive proteolytic enzymes in

many insects are serine proteinases such as trypsin and

chymotrypsin (Broadway & Duffey, 1986; Terra et al.,

1996), therefore numerous trypsin and chymotrypsin

inhibitors have been investigated. The effects on different

herbivores of both genetically engineered plant

material (Johnson et al., 1989; Gatehouse et al., 1991;

McManus et al., 1994) and artificial diets containing

the inhibitors (Burgess et al., 1991, 1994) have been

studied. The effects are species- and inhibitor-specific

but generally the negative effect on the growth and

survival of the herbivores is significant.

However, as the experience with pesticides indicates

very well, it is short-sighted to look at the

pest damage problem in isolation. Agricultural fields,

even if often impoverished with respect to ‘natural’

habitats, contain many species participating in ecological

interactions that are vital for the productive

functioning of these systems (Thomas&Waage, 1996;

Gould, 1998). Pest control provided by naturally occurring

predatory arthropods is one of those important


Biological control by predatory arthropods and

control by gene manipulation can interfere with each

other. As a first step to study the existence and significance

of such interactions, we examined whether

a specific proteinase inhibitor in the food of a herbivore

can affect the consumption of this herbivore by

a polyphagous predator. We also studied if this effect

lasts longer in the predator than the actual exposure to

the proteinase inhibitor fed prey.


  • Ecology
  • predators
  • herbivores
  • feeding
  • tritrophic interactions
  • proteinase inhibitor
  • genetic manipulations


  • Soil Ecology
  • ISSN: 1570-7458

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