The Angoumois grain moth, Sitotroga cerealella (Oliver), is one of the major storage pests of cereals, and no antibiotic resistance in wheat against this insect has been identified to date. Midgut proteases are vital to insects that digest food in the midgut and have been considered as targets for the control of insect pests. Protease inhibitors are attractive for their potential use in developing insect-resistant plant varieties via genetic engineering. Characterization of the midgut proteases of S. cerealella larvae revealed the major digestive proteases were trypsin-like and α-chymotrypsin-like serine proteases. The partial inhibition of proteolytic activity by pepstatin A, however, suggested the presence of another protease in the midgut sensitive to this inhibitor. The potential value of naturally occurring plant protease inhibitors as resistance factors for S. cerealella was assessed in bioassays using artificial seeds prepared by freeze-drying a flour paste in Teflon molds and then coating the seeds with gelatin. Soybean trypsin inhibitor (Kunitz inhibitor) had an adverse effect on the development of the insect and suggested a protease inhibitor might serve as a transgenic resistance factor. To evaluate the potential value of seed resistance in conjunction with an egg parasitoid on S. cerealella population dynamics a predictive model was developed. The model was directed toward grain storage in developing countries. While the model was hypothetical, outputs supported the use of resistant seed in conjunction with parasitoids to control the population growth of S. cerealella in a small seed storage room.
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