Fast-GC Quantification of Harmonine, the Major Defense Alkaloid of the Multicolored Asian Ladybird Harmonia axyridis(Pallas)


These last few years the multicolored Asian ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), previously introduced in Europe and North America as a biological control agent, has swiftly spread out on those territories and turns out to be a pest in several ways. In order to improve understanding of several key points of the biology of this ladybird, a novel fast-GC method of quantification of harmonine, the main defense alkaloid of H. axyridis, has been designed and validated using the accuracy profile concept for concentrations ranging from 13 to 264 μg/individual. This method allows quantifying harmonine in a single insect with a maximal error risk of 20%. For ladybirds collected in spring, mean harmonine concentration observed was 106.6 μg/individual with a very high standard deviation of 80.2 μg/individual, which can easily be explained by the strong asymmetry of the results distribution. Males and females seem equally chemically protected as the harmonine concentration did not significantly differ between sexes. This method is currently used to improve our comprehension of several key points of H. axyridis biology including aggregation behavior and aposematism.

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C. Fischer, P. Laurent, S. Heuskin, D. Durieux, E. Haubruge, F. Verheggen and G. Lognay, "Fast-GC Quantification of Harmonine, the Major Defense Alkaloid of the Multicolored Asian Ladybird Harmonia axyridis(Pallas)," American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2012, pp. 67-75. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2012.31010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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