Yield losses of different crops due to the attack of various classes of insects are a worldwide problem. Sucking type homopteran pests causing damage to many crop species are not controlled by commonly known insecticidal proteins, namely, Bacillus thuringiensis δ-endotoxin (Bt). This study describes the purification of mannose-binding lectins from three different monocotyledonous plants (Allium sativum, Colocasia esculenta, and Diffenbachia sequina) and their effects on a homopteran insect, the red cotton bug. All of them had a detrimental effect on the growth and development of the insect, where A. sativum bulb lectin showed the highest mortality of all, in particular. The same bulb lectin not only affected the growth and fecundity of the insect but also imparted drastic changes in the color, weight, and size, even on the second generation of the insects which have been reared on artificial diet supplemented with a sublethal dose of the lectin. Thus, this finding opens up a possibility of using this lectin as an important component in crop management.
- Bacillus thuringiensis
- Mannose-binding plant lectins