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Morphophysical and biochemical traits involved in maize grain varietal susceptibility to the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais (Coleoptera, Curculionidae)

Ngom D., Fauconnier M.L., Malumba P., Thiaw C., Brévault T., Sembène M.. 2021. Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement, 25 (1) : p. 45-56.

DOI: 10.25518/1780-4507.18876

Description of the subject. Maize (Zea mays L.) is a major staple food providing nutrients for humans and animals worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, maize is stored to ensure food resource availability throughout the year. However, stored-product pests such as the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais (Motsch.) (Coleoptera; Curculionidae) can cause huge grain losses. Objectives. This study aimed to assess the oviposition preference of Sitophilus zeamais over maize varieties commonly cultivated in Senegal and the effect of grain morphophysical and biochemical characteristics on their susceptibility to the maize weevil. Method. Twenty-five S. zeamais pairs (M/F) were placed in the center of an arena at equal distance of small heaps of maize grains (30 g) from nine maize varieties. Adult abundance, damaged grains, grain weight loss, and progeny were confronted to grain characteristics (phenolics and ferulic acid content, hardness, brightness, color and size of grains). Results. Susceptibility to the maize weevil varied significantly among maize varieties. Synth-9243 was the most susceptible variety with greatest damaged grains (10.5 ± 2.3%), grain weight loss (2.3 ± 0.6%), and progeny (17.3 ± 3.8 adults). The least susceptible varieties were Across-Pool, SWAN, Obatampa, and Tzee-Yellow. Grain characteristics such as phenolics and ferulic acid content were negatively related to susceptibility, but other constituents may have antixenosis or antibiosis effects. In addition, grain brightness may also have a visual effect deterring oviposition. Conclusions. The most repellent and less favorable varieties for S. zeamais were Tzee-Yellow, Across-Pool, Obatampa and SWAN, that presented high content of phenolics and ferulic acid, hardness and brightness of grains.

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