COMPONENTS OF PARASITIC WASP VENOMS USEFUL FOR CONTROL OF INSECT PESTS

Period of Performance: 01/01/1993 - 12/31/1993

$240K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Natural Products Research,
111 BOOKHAM LN
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Principal Investigator

Abstract

WE PROPOSE A PHASE I PROGRAM TO EVALUATE THE INSECTICIDAL PROPERTIES AND COMPONENTS OF CERTAIN PARASITIC WASP VENOMS. MOST INSECTS, INCLUDING MOST IMPORTANT CROP PESTS. ARE ATTACKED BY ONE OR MORE SPECIES OF PARASITIC WASPS. THE VENOMS OF PARASITIC WASPS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF EFFECTS ON THEIR HOSTS, INCLUDING PARALYSIS, GROWTH REGULATION, AND SUPPRESSION OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. THE BASE BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY OF PARASITIC WASPS SUGGESTS THAT THEIR VENOMS ARE A POTENTIALLY RICH SOURCE OF POTENT, SELECTIVE, INSECTICIDAL TOXINS WITH NOVEL, USEFUL CHEMISTRIES AND MODES OF ACTION. SUCH TOXINS MAY BE EXPECTED TO SERVE AS LEADS FOR DEVELOPING NEW CLASSES OF SYNTHETIC CHEMICAL INSECTICIDES AND AS THE BASIS FOR RECOMBINANT BIOPESTICIDES. ALTHOUGH AVAILABLE DATA ARE LIMITED, THEY SUGGEST THAT THESE VENOMS MAY PROVIDE THE MOST POTENT INSECT-SPECIFIC TOXINS IDENTIFIED TO DATE. WE HAVE PREPARED A LIST OF TAXONOMICALLY DIVERSE SPECIES, THE VENOMS OF WHICH ARE LIKELY TO CONTAIN PARALYTIC ACTIVITIES. IN PHASE I, VENOM GLAND OR WHOLE WASP EXTRACTS WILL BE SURVEYED FOR INCAPACITATING ACTIVITIES AGAINST IMPORTANT LEPIDOPTERAN CROP PEST. THE BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE ACTIVITIES WILL BE FURTHER CHARACTERIZED. BASED ON THESE RESULTS, PURIFICATION OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE TOXINS WILL BE INITIATED.