Cross-resistance and synergism bioassays suggest multiple mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance in western corn rootworm populations

Adriano E. Pereira, Dariane Souza, Sarah N. Zukoff, Lance J. Meinke, Blair D. Siegfried

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31 Scopus citations


Recently, resistance to the pyrethroid bifenthrin was detected and confirmed in field populations of western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte from southwestern areas of Nebraska and Kansas. As a first step to understand potential mechanisms of resistance, the objectives of this study were i) to assess adult mortality at diagnostic concentration-LC99 to the pyrethroids bifenthrin and tefluthrin as well as DDT, ii) estimate adult and larval susceptibility to the same compounds as well as the organophosphate methyl-parathion, and iii) perform synergism experiments with piperonyl butoxide (PBO) (P450 inhibitor) and S,S,S-tributyl-phosphorotrithioate (DEF) (esterase inhibitor) in field populations. Most of the adult field populations exhibiting some level of bifenthrin resistance exhibited significantly lower mortality to both pyrethroids and DDT than susceptible control populations at the estimated LC99 of susceptible populations. Results of adult dose-mortality bioassays also revealed elevated LC50 values for bifenthrin resistant populations compared to the susceptible control population with resistance ratios ranging from 2.5 to 5.5-fold for bifenthrin, 28 to 54.8-fold for tefluthrin, and 16.3 to 33.0 for DDT. These bioassay results collectively suggest some level of cross-resistance between the pyrethroids and DDT. In addition, both PBO and DEF reduced the resistance ratios for resistant populations although there was a higher reduction in susceptibility of adults exposed to PBO versus DEF. Susceptibility in larvae varied among insecticides and did not correlate with adult susceptibility to tefluthrin and DDT, as most resistance ratios were < 5-fold when compared to the susceptible population. These results suggest that both detoxifying enzymes and target site insensitivity might be involved as resistance mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0179311
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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