Resistance of maize cultivars to Sitophilus zeamais (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

ABSTRACT: Five Zea mays cultivars (BRS Caatingueiro, BRS Gorutuba, BRS Sertanejo, BRS Asa Branca and BR 106) were evaluated considering their effect on the nutrition of the maize weevil Sitophilus zeamais, by analysis of total protein in adult fed with these cultivars and for the presence of lectins and trypsin inhibitors in grains. In addition, free-choice and no-choice assays were performed to investigate the resistance of grains of the Z. mays cultivars to an attack by S. zeamais. The BR 106 cultivar showed the lowest susceptibility index, followed by BRS Caatingueiro, BRS Asa Branca, BRS Sertanejo and BRS Gorutuba. The number of emerged adults in the Z. mays cultivars ranged from 213.17 to 74.0, and the lowest number of insects was recorded for the BR 106 cultivar. The insects were able to feed on grains of all cultivars, but the BR 106 cultivar showed the least reduction in dried biomass. Lectins were detected in extracts from BR 106, BRS Asa Branca, BRS Sertanejo and BRS Gorutuba, and the highest activity was shown by BR 106. The lowest protein assimilation was detected in the insects from treatments with BRS Asa Branca. The extracts from all cultivars were able to inhibit the activity of bovine trypsin, but this effect was not related to the resistance degree of Z. mays cultivars. The results suggest the resistance of BR 160 to the attack of S. zeamais, as well as indicating that the presence of lectin in the grains is the cause of this resistance.