Insectaries that rear beneficial arthropods assess the quality of their insects and shipments through a variety of procedures, such as manual counts of insects or oviposited eggs, or behavioral tests of mobility or reproductive vigor. Fecundity is a key measure of quality in adult mass-reared arthropods, and is normally determined by counting eggs throughout the life of a female insect. Since egg counts are at least laborious and often impractical, we have proposed a quantitative test of yolk protein content, the Yolk Protein – Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (YP-ELISA). We can gain significant advantage in developing the YP-ELISA by understanding the dynamics of egg development and biochemical characteristics of the yolk proteins. The YP-ELISA itself lends quantitative insight into processes that are now primarily understood qualitatively.
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