Monday, December 10, 2001 -

Effect of a set of termite-responsive terpenoids and isoprenoids on the integrity of erythrocyte membranes and on protein leakage from treated termites: Does a generalized activity on the cell membrane contribute to toxicity in termites?

Betty C. R. Zhu1, Huixin Fei2, Gregg Henderson2, and Roger A. Laine1. (1) Louisiana State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 510 Choppin Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, (2) Louisiana State University, Department of Entomology, 402 Life Sciences Building, Baton Rouge, LA

Many terpenoids and isoprenoids are toxic to insects, and a few are also repellents and toxicants to subterranean termites. The mechanism of toxicity is not well known. Our research shows that terpenoids and isoprenoids damage cell membranes. Nerol caused hemolysis in 100% of mouse erythrocytes within 10 minutes at a concentration of 0.8 mg/ml. This led us to the discovery that terpenoids caused a leakage of proteins from the termite body. We believe that the primary site of the toxic action to termites is the cell membrane.

Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Coptotermes formosanus (Formosan subterranean termite)
Keywords: terpenoids

The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA