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      Sublethal Effects of Solanum nigrum Fruit Extract and Its Pure Glycoalkaloids on the Physiology of Tenebrio molitor (Mealworm)

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          Abstract

          Background: Solanaceae plants produce glycoalkaloids (GAs) that affect various physiological processes of herbivorous insects and they are being tested as potential alternatives for synthetic pesticides. They cause lethal and sublethal effects. Nevertheless, their mode of action remains unclear. Therefore, we examined the effects of Solanum nigrum fruit extracts and pure glycoalkaloids on a model beetle, Tenebrio molitor. Methods: Plant extracts or pure alkaloids were added to the food of the larvae for three days. The lipid, glycogen, and protein content in the fat body and the midgut were determined, and the contractility of the heart, hindgut, and oviduct muscles was tested using the video-microscopy technique. Finally, the ultrastructure of the fat body and the midgut was observed using electron microscopy. Results: No lethal effects were noted. Sublethal changes were observed in the content of biomolecules, malformations of organelles, chromatin condensation, and heart and oviduct contractility. The observed effects differed between the tested glycoalkaloids and the extract. Conclusions: Both the extract and pure GAs have a wide range of effects that may result in impaired development, food intake, and reproduction. Some early effects may be used as bioindicators of stress. The effects of the extract and pure alkaloids suggest that the substances produced by the plant may act additively or synergistically.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Estimation of glycogen in small amounts of tissue.

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            Pyrethrum flowers and pyrethroid insecticides.

             J E Casida (1980)
            The natural pyrethrins from the daisy-like flower, Tanacetum or Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, are nonpersistent insecticides of low toxicity to mammals. Synthetic analogs or pyrethroids, evolved from the natural compounds by successive isosteric modifications, are more potent and stable and are the newest important class of crop protection chemicals. They retain many of the favorable properties of the pyrethrins.
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              A Review of Bioinsecticidal Activity of Solanaceae Alkaloids

              Only a small percentage of insect species are pests. However, pest species cause significant losses in agricultural and forest crops, and many are vectors of diseases. Currently, many scientists are focused on developing new tools to control insect populations, including secondary plant metabolites, e.g., alkaloids, glycoalkaloids, terpenoids, organic acids and alcohols, which show promise for use in plant protection. These compounds can affect insects at all levels of biological organization, but their action generally disturbs cellular and physiological processes, e.g., by altering redox balance, hormonal regulation, neuronal signalization or reproduction in exposed individuals. Secondary plant metabolites cause toxic effects that can be observed at both lethal and sublethal levels, but the most important effect is repellence. Plants from the Solanaceae family, which contains numerous economically and ecologically important species, produce various substances that affect insects belonging to most orders, particularly herbivorous insects and other pests. Many compounds possess insecticidal properties, but they are also classified as molluscides, acaricides, nematocides, fungicides and bactericides. In this paper, we present data on the sublethal and lethal toxicity caused by pure metabolites and crude extracts obtained from Solanaceae plants. Pure substances as well as water and/or alcohol extracts cause lethal and sublethal effects in insects, which is important from the economical point of view. We discuss the results of our study and their relevance to plant protection and management.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Toxins (Basel)
                Toxins (Basel)
                toxins
                Toxins
                MDPI
                2072-6651
                01 December 2018
                December 2018
                : 10
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Animal Physiology and Development, Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland; szyymon@ 123456amu.edu.pl (S.C.); monikasz@ 123456amu.edu.pl (M.S.); ed@ 123456amu.edu.pl (Z.A.)
                [2 ]Department of Sciences, University of Basilicata, Via dell’Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy; filomenalelario@ 123456hotmail.com
                [3 ]Electron and Confocal Microscope Laboratory, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: marta.spochacz@ 123456amu.edu.pl (M.S.); sabino.bufo@ 123456unibas.it (S.A.B.); Tel.: +48-61-829-5914 (M.S.); +39-097120-5232 (S.A.B.)
                Article
                toxins-10-00504
                10.3390/toxins10120504
                6316220
                30513736
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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