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Malathion-resistant Tribolium castaneum has enhanced response to oxidative stress, immunity, and fitness

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Abdur Rauf, Dr Richard WilkinsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022. Many cases of insecticide resistance in insect pests give resulting no-cost strains that retain the resistance genes even in the absence of the toxic stressor. Malathion (rac-diethyl 2-[(dimethoxyphosphorothioyl)sulfanyl]succinate) has been widely used against the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum Herbst. in stored products although no longer used. Malathion specific resistance in this pest is long lasting and widely distributed. A malathion resistant strain was challenged with a range of stressors including starvation, hyperoxia, malathion and a pathogen to determine the antioxidant responses and changes to some lifecycle parameters. Adult life span of the malathion-specific resistant strain of T. castaneum was significantly shorter than that of the susceptible. Starvation and/or high oxygen reduced adult life span of both strains. Starving, with and without 100% oxygen, gave longer lifespan for the resistant strain, but for oxygen alone there was a small extension. Under oxygen the proportional survival of the resistant strain to the adult stage was significantly higher, for both larvae and pupae, than the susceptible. The resistant strain when stressed with malathion and oxygen significantly increased catalase activity, but the susceptible did not. The resistant strain stressed with Paranosema whitei infection had significantly higher survival compared to the susceptible, and with low mortality. The malathion resistant strain of T. castaneum showed greater vigour than the susceptible in oxidative stress situations and especially where stressors were combined. The induction of the antioxidant enzyme catalase could have helped the resistant strain to withstand oxidative stresses, including insecticidal and importantly those from pathogens. These adaptations, in the absence of insecticide, seem to support the increased immunity of the insecticide resistant host to pathogens seen in other insect species, such as mosquitoes. By increasing the responses to a range of stressors the resistant strain could be considered as having enhanced fitness, compared to the susceptible.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rauf A, Wilkins RM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology

Year: 2022

Volume: 184

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 24/05/2022

Acceptance date: 18/05/2022

Date deposited: 02/09/2022

ISSN (print): 0048-3575

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9939

Publisher: Academic Press Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2022.105128

PubMed id: 35715066


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Newcastle University