Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 107–114 | Cite as

Insect deterrent activity of ethanolic leaf extracts of landrace maize and determination of active compounds against Spodoptera littoralis Boisduval (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • Luis F. C. dos Santos
  • Esaú Ruiz-SánchezEmail author
  • Marcela Gamboa-Angulo
  • Azucena González-Coloma
Original Article


The present work was carried out to gain insight into the chemical defense of maize against phytophagous insects. Leaves of sixteen landrace populations were extracted with ethanol. Deterrent activity of extracts was evaluated on Spodoptera littoralis and Rhopalosiphum padi under laboratory conditions. Most of the ethanolic extracts negatively affected settling of R. padi, but only the extract Xn-69 affected feeding of S. littoralis. Active extracts were combined based on their TLC pattern. Bioassay-guided fractionation using biomass gain (ΔB) and food consumption (ΔI) of S. littoralis showed that the active fraction contained three phytosterols: sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol as the major constituents. These compounds might be responsible for the negative effects of extracts on biomass gain through the inhibition of food consumption of S. littoralis larvae. These phytosterols might provide in maize nonpreference resistance mechanism against insect pests.


Zea mays L. Native maize Host defense Plant metabolites Phytosterols 



This work has been partially supported by Grant CTQ2015-64049-C3-1-R (MINECO/FEDER). The authors thank Irma L. Medina-Baizabal of Unidad de Biotecnología at CICY. Luis dos Santos had a doctoral scholarship (572787) from CONACyT, Mexico.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tecnologico Nacional de México, Instituto Tecnológico de ConkalConkalMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY)MéridaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciencias Agrarias (ICA-CSIC)MadridSpain

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