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A major bottleneck in the commercialization of plant-based pest management compounds is that the extraction methods are complex, time-consuming, and even highly expensive. Using a recently developed inexpensive extraction and quantification methodology to isolate polyphenols (including anthocyanins and condensed tannins) from purple corn pericarp, we examined their effects on Manduca sexta, a common insect herbivore. Following up on our previous work which demonstrated the negative impacts of polyphenol-rich extract on larval stages, we further examined whether there are any cascading effects on subsequent life stages (pupal and adult) including any possible transgenerational effects. Our results show that polyphenol-rich purple corn extract-fed caterpillars had significantly lower pupal mass and survival. Moreover, adult moths also had lower mass when eclosed from caterpillars reared on the extract diet. To test whether there were any transgenerational effects, we allowed male and female adults fed on purple corn extract diet and control diet to mate and lay eggs in a full factorial experiment. We found that purple corn extract-fed adult pair laid a lower number of eggs compared to other treatments. In addition, we also found that second instar M. sexta caterpillars hatched from eggs laid by any mating combination with at least one parent reared on purple corn extract gained significantly lower mass compared to caterpillars with both parents reared on the control diet. Taken together, our results show that there are cascading negative effects for feeding purple corn pericarp extract on pupal, adult, and second generation of M. sexta, reaffirming its potential application as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly pest deterrent.


© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Original published version available at

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Communicative & Integrative Biology





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