Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology (2021)



Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier. Used by permission.


The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is a global pest of multiple economically important row crops and the development of resistance to commercially available insecticidal classes has inhibited FAW control. Thus, there is a need to identify chemical scaffolds that can provide inspiration for the development of novel insecticides for FAW management. This study aimed to assess the sensitivity of central neurons and susceptibility of FAW to chloride channel modulators to establish a platform for repurposing existing insecticides or designing new chemicals capable of controlling FAW. Potency of select chloride channel modulators were initially studied against FAW central neuron firing rate and rank order of potency was determined to be fipronil > lindane > Z-stilbene > DIDS > GABA > E-stilbene. Toxicity bioassays identified fipronil and lindane as the two most toxic modulators studied with topical LD50's of 41 and 75 ng/mg of caterpillar, respectively. Interestingly, Z-stilbene was toxic at 300 ng/mg of caterpillar, but no toxicity was observed with DIDS or E-stilbene. The significant shift in potency between stilbene isomers indicates structure-activity relationships between stilbene chemistry and the binding site in FAW may exist. The data presented in this study defines the potency of select chloride channel modulators to FAW neural activity and survivorship to establish a platform for development of novel chemical agents to control FAW populations. Although stilbenes may hold promise for insecticide development, the low toxicity of the scaffolds tested in this study dampen enthusiasm for their development into FAW specific insecticides.