Effects of chitosan and erythritol on labellar taste neuron activity, proboscis extension reflex, daily food intake, and mortality of male and female spotted-winged drosophila, Drosophila suzukii.
In recent years, there has been interest in reduced-risk materials with insecticidal properties for the invasive pest spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. Here, we compared the peripheral sensitivity (via the tip-recording technique, used to monitor the neural activity of gustatory receptor neurons [GRNs]) and palatability (via the Proboscis Extension Reflex [PER]) of chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from chitin, with that of erythritol, a sugar alcohol, to male and female D. suzukii. Because in some insect species it has previously been shown that chitosan has some insecticidal properties, then treatment effects on mortality rates of male and female D. suzukii were quantified. Physiological recordings from the l-type labellar sensilla showed that erythritol evoked responses from one GRN, while chitosan elicited spiked activity from a second one. The first PER bioassay revealed that the level of response to erythritol increased significantly for males and females as the concentrations increased, and the effect of fly sex was non-significant. The second PER bioassay compared the male and female response to chitosan and erythritol each at 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2% concentrations. The overall female PER to erythritol was significantly greater than that exhibited by males, and no differences were noted between sexes when chitosan was evaluated. These results indicate that chitosan alone can elicit PER responses in adult D. suzukii. In the third experiment, chitosan was toxic to D. suzukii. When combined with sucrose (2%), chitosan elicited high levels (80-100%) of mortality of adult D. suzukii within 3 days, particularly in males. The presence of erythritol did not seem to increase the toxic effect of chitosan.