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To counter the insect infestation, plants respond with wide-ranging and highly dynamic biochemical reactions. Of these, the anti-oxidative activity is poorly understood. The red palm weevil (RPW) Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Oliver), one of the most widespread pests in Pakistan, prefers to infest date palm Phoenix dactylifera. Our present study investigated the feeding preference of RPW to 11 different date palm cultivars and the results suggested that the Hillawi cultivar was most preferred. Greater infestation rate, fecundity and hatching rate were also recorded from Hillawi and Mozawati than other cultivars. No significant decreases were observed in chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophylls and carotenoids of RPW-infested Hillawi cultivar over un-infested control. In contrast, the contents of enzymatic antioxidants including phenols, proline, hydrogen peroxide, anthocyanin, malondialdehyde, ascorbic acid and glycine betaine showed a drastic increase after RPW infestation, and there was enhanced superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and catalase activities. Furthermore, we recorded the increase of total protein and sugar contents in RPW-infested date palms. These findings offer valuable insight into the antioxidative molecular mechanism of date palms under RPW attack and may contribute to the breeding of insect-resistant crops.
This study investigated thermal aspect potentials of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera (Linnaeus) (Arecaceae)) infested by red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)) in early detection. Palms were forced infested, i.e., fertile females and males were introduced inside the palms to initiate infestation. Effects of three infestation intensities on date palm were examined throughout a 24-day period. Temperature gradients inside infested and healthy palms of the commercial cultivar (Khalas) were determined using data loggers. Adult weevils and loggers were introduced inside holes drilled in palm trunks for measuring temperatures at 15-minute intervals during 24 consecutive days. These 24 days after infestation is the larval stage where most of the damage occurs and the infested palms can still be rescued through remedial control measures. A repeated measures analysis showed that the temperature of infested palms during the two seasons of the study were 33.22 °C and 30.08 °C, while for the healthy palms were 31.83 °C and 27.56 °C. Differences were significant during the first (F=6.14, df=3, P=0.009) and the second (F=3.89, df=3, P=0.038) season. The corresponding ambient atmosphere temperatures were 31.83 °C and 28.03 °C, respectively. This study provides valuable baseline information for developing a real-time sensor fusion system for a nondestructive early detection of insect infestation.
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