Date of this Version
Environ. Entomol. 20(1): 53-60 (1991)
The a-amylase inhibitor content in saline extracts of 104 Eastern soft wheat cultivars was determined by assay against a purified a-amylase preparation from the rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae (L.). A two-fold range of inhibitor levels, expressed as amylase inhibitor units per gram of dry weight (AID/g), was found across all cultivars. Inhibitory activity was lowest in cultivar 'Augusta' (5,084 ± 124 AIU/g) and highest in cultivar 'Logan' (10,410 ± 61 AID/g). No correlation of inhibitor content with progeny production (r = -0.161) or rate of emergence (r = -0.292) was found among weevils reared on 30 cultivars having relatively low, medium, and high inhibitor levels, but there was a positive correlation between inhibitor content and average number of days to adult emergence (r = 0.569). Although mean development times were significantly different on cultivars with low and high AIU/g (35.9 ± 0.2 and 36.6 ± 0.1 d, respectively), the differences were only slight and indicated that, for these cultivars of soft wheats, a-amylase inhibitors have little practical effect on initial population reductions. Nevertheless, based on a population model for S. oryzae developing on wheat at 25°C and 75% RH, the slight delay in mean development time (0.7 d) on cultivars with relatively high AIU/g results in a 20.9% reduction in total number of weevils after 180 d. Simulations also indicate that physical or biochemical resistance factors in wheat have to delay development time for about 6.2 d or reduce fecundity by about 40% to prevent wheat from being graded "weevily" 180 d after a single pair of weevils infests a hypothetical 6,000-bushel wheat bin.