Bulletin of entomological research

Digestive proteinases of the larger black flour beetle, Cynaeus angustus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae).

PMID 16556337


Digestion in the larger black flour beetle, Cynaeus angustus (LeConte), was studied to identify new control methods for this pest of stored grains and grain products. The physiological pH of the larval gut, as measured with extracts in water, was approximately 6.1, and the pH for optimal hydrolysis of casein by gut extracts was 6.2 when buffers were reducing. However, under non-reducing conditions, hydrolysis of casein and synthetic serine proteinase substrates was optimal in alkaline buffer. Three major proteinase activities were observed in zymograms using casein or gelatin. Caseinolytic activity of C. angustus gut extracts was inhibited by inhibitors that target aspartic and serine proteinase classes, with minor inhibition by a cysteine proteinase inhibitor. In particular, soybean trypsin and trypsin/chymotrypsin inhibitors were most effective in reducing the in vitro caseinolytic activity of gut extracts. Based on these data, further studies are suggested on the effects of dietary soybean inhibitors of serine proteinases, singly and in combination with aspartic and cysteine proteinase inhibitors, on C. angustus larvae. Results from these studies can be used to develop new control strategies to prevent damage to grains and stored products by C. angustus and similar coleopteran pests.