Inhibition of baculoviral disease by plant-mediated peroxidase activity and free radical generation

Kelli Hoover, Kenneth T. Kishida, Louis A. Digiorgio, Jeff Workman, Susan A. Alaniz, Bruce D. Hammock, Sean S. Duffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The susceptibility of noctuid larvae to baculoviral infection is markedly affected by phytochemicals ingested during the acquisition of vital inoculum on foliage. We hypothesized that a major process causing phytochemical inhibition of viral disease is phenolic oxidation by phenolases, particularly peroxidase (POD), which subsequently generates free radicals. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated the chemical interactions in foliage of cotton, tomato, and lettuce by application of antioxidants, prooxidants, enriched extracts of phenolases, and/or phenolic substrates. Larvae of Heliothis virescens or Helicoverpa zea that received viral inoculum on treated foliage were less likely to die from viral infection the higher the POD activity of this foliage. Furthermore, the higher the POD activity, the more free radicals were generated in crushed foliage, and the more free radicals generated, the lower the incidence of viral disease. We present a series of reactions hypothesized to lead to inhibition of viral disease by free radicals, the generation of which is mediated, at least in part, by POD. Phenolic redox cycling catalyzed by POD involving clastogenesis (generation of H2O2) appeared to be a critical driver of phytochemical reactions leading to free radical generation and inhibition of baculoviral disease in their noctuid hosts. We also report application of an assay for the detection of free radicals by using methemoglobin as a new modification of this method for detecting radicals in plant foliage in the immediate aftermath of an oxidative burst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1949-2001
Number of pages53
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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