Effects of gamma-irradiation on midgut proteolytic activity of the mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae).
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The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), is a key pest of citrus in Spain because of significant yield losses and to quarantine restrictions. Biologically based control methods, such as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which relies on the sterilization by irradiation of large numbers of insects, is gaining an increasing role in the control of medfly in Mediterranean areas. However, gamma-irradiation might damage the midgut epithelium cells, causing a lowering of nutritive assimilation that can negatively affect adult performance. Irradiation effects on digestive physiology are well established for a number of insect pests, but there is no information on medfly. Our aim was to determine the effects of gamma-irradiation on C. capitata digestive protease activity. Both larvae and adults were found to use a similar proteolytic system based on aspartyl-, trypsin-, chymotrypsin-, amino peptidase-, and carboxypeptidase A- and B-like activities. Pupae of the Vienna-7 (tsl) strain were irradiated at 70 or 140 Gy, two days before emergence, and the adults fed during 5 days on sugar-protein (4:1) diets. Protease activity was measured in midgut extracts and compared with males non-irradiated reared in the same conditions. The results showed that the irradiation doses tested had no effect on the digestive proteolytic activities of medfly adults. Moreover, the longevity of irradiated medflies at the highest dose (140 Gy) was similar to that of controls.