Protease inhibitory, insecticidal and deterrent effects of the trypsin-inhibitor benzamidine on the velvetbean caterpillar in soybean

Abstract The recognition of protease inhibitors with insecticidal activity is important as a basis for the development of mimetic peptides with potential use as biorational insecticides. We sprayed benzamidine on soybean plants and assessed whether this potent synthetic trypsin-inhibitor has protease inhibitory, insecticidal and deterrent effects on the velvetbean caterpillar Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). Activity of trypsin inhibition in soybean leaves was increased and total proteolytic activity in the midgut extract from larvae fed on these leaves was reduced by benzamidine. Different concentrations of benzamidine sprayed on the plant caused approximately 50 % of larval mortality, and larval choice and moth preference and oviposition were all negatively affected. Low concentrations of benzamidine increased mortality and hindered insect choice and oviposition as well as higher doses. Since many synthetic protease inhibitors are usually expensive, small doses of benzamidine may be effective to protect soybean against A. gemmatalis attack. Our results highlight the potential of synthetic protease inhibitors for insecticidal and deterrent purposes in insect pest management.