The toxic effects of phenoloxidase from the haemolymph of tenebrionid beetles

E. Zlotkin, M. Gurevitz, A. Shulov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The injection of haemolymph originating from several species of tenebrionid beetles into blowfly larvae caused a gradual paralysis accompanied by colour changes in the haemolymph of the injected test insects. It was found that the lethal effect of the haemolymph of the beetle Blaps sulcata was due to phenoloxidase. The enzyme was activated by the exposure and incubation of the haemolymph at room temperature. The identity between the toxic factor and phenoloxidase in the beetle's haemolymph was demonstrated by the following data: (1) A correlation between the rate of lethal and phenoloxidase activities during the activation process of the toxic haemolymph. (2) Phenylthiourea, a well-known inhibitor of phenoloxidase, inhibited both the enzymatic and the toxic action of the beetle's haemolymph. (3) A commercial preparation of phenoloxidase (originating from mushrooms) imitated the lethal effects and the accompanying symptoms of the toxic haemolymph. (4) Sephadex G-100 column separation of the Blaps haemolymph revealed a complete overlap between the enzymatic and lethal regions of the elution pattern. The possible effects of phenoloxidase on the haemolymph of the injected insects are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1065
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1973
Externally publishedYes


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