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J Insect Physiol. 2010 Dec;56(12):1807-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.07.011. Epub 2010 Aug 8.

Total body nitrogen and total body carbon as indicators of body protein and body lipids in the melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae: effects of methoprene, a juvenile hormone analogue, and of diet supplementation with hydrolyzed yeast.

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Insect Pest Control Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, A-2444 Seibersdorf, Austria.


The application of methoprene, and providing access to diet including hydrolyzed yeast, are treatments known to enhance mating success in the male melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett (Diptera: Tephritidae), supporting their use in mass rearing protocols for sterile males in the context of sterile insect technique (SIT) programmes. The objective of the present laboratory study was to investigate the effect of methoprene application and diet supplementation with hydrolyzed yeast (protein) on the turnover of body lipids and protein to confirm the feasibility of their application in melon fly SIT mass-rearing programmes. While females had access to a diet that included hydrolyzed yeast (protein), males were exposed to one of the following treatments: (1) topical application of methoprene and access to diet including protein (M+P+); (2) only diet including protein (M-P+); (3) only methoprene (M+P-) and (4) untreated, only sugar-fed, control males (M-P-). Total body carbon (TBC) and total body nitrogen (TBN) of flies were measured at regular intervals from emergence to 35 days of age for each of the different treatments. Nitrogen assimilation and turnover in the flies were measured using stable isotope ((15)N) dilution techniques. Hydrolyzed yeast incorporation into the diet significantly increased male body weight, TBC and TBN as compared to sugar-fed males. Females had significantly higher body weight, TBC and TBN as compared to all males. TBC and TBN showed age-dependent changes, increasing until the age of sexual maturity and decreasing afterwards in both sexes. Methoprene treatment did not significantly affect TBC or TBN. The progressive increase with age of TBC suggests that lipogenesis occurs in adult male B. cucurbitae, as is the case in other tephritids. Stable isotope dilution was shown to be an effective method for determining N uptake in B. cucurbitae. This technique was used to show that sugar-fed males rely solely on larval N reserves and that the N uptake rate in males with access to diet including hydrolyzed yeast was higher shortly after emergence and then stabilized. The implications of the results for SIT applications are discussed.

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