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Research articles

ScienceAsia 34 (2008): 279-286 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2008.34.279

A metabonomic analysis of insect development: 1H-NMR spectroscopic characterization of changes in the composition of the haemolymph of larvae and pupae of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta

Chitchol Phalaraksha,*, Stuart E. Reynoldsb, Ian D. Wilsonc, Eva M. Lenzc, Jeremy K. Nicholsond, John C. Lindond

ABSTRACT:     The analysis of complex biological samples, principally biological fluids, to obtain global metabolite profiles using techniques such as high resolution NMR spectroscopy has been termed metabonomics. This work describes the application of metabonomics to characterize the biochemical changes associated with development during the various instars of the larval stages and in the pupal stage of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta. The levels of many small molecule metabolites change during development. Thus, alanine, glutamate, lysine, succinate, lactate, and betaine are present at relatively high levels during the feeding period of larval life, but decrease at the onset of wandering. Compounds that increase in concentration as the insects prepare to pupate include citrate, fatty acids, and succinate. The presence of variable levels of putrescine in haemolymph is interesting, given its possible role in juvenile hormone action. The potential of high resolution 1H-NMR spectroscopy for the metabonomic analysis of insect developmental chemistry is discussed.

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a Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
b Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
c Department of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism, Mereside, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TG, UK
d Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK

* Corresponding author, E-mail: chitchol@chiangmai.ac.th

Received 23 Jan 2008, Accepted 24 Jun 2008