Oxidative stress induced by chlorine dioxide as an insecticidal factor to the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella

Sunil Kumar, Jiyeong Park, Eunseong Kim, Jahyun Na, Yong Shik Chun, Hyeok Kwon, Wook Kim, Yonggyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


A novel fumigant, chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is a commercial bleaching and disinfection agent. Recent study indicates its insecticidal activity. However, its mode of action to kill insects is yet to be understood. This study set up a hypothesis that an oxidative stress induced by ClO2 is a main factor to kill insects. The Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella, is a lepidopteran insect pest infesting various stored grains. Larvae of P. interpunctella were highly susceptible to ClO2 gas, which exhibited an acute toxicity. Physiological damages by ClO2 were observed in hemocytes. At high doses, the larvae of P. interpunctella suffered significant reduction of total hemocytes. At low doses, ClO2 impaired hemocyte behaviors. The cytotoxicity of ClO2 was further analyzed using two insect cell lines, where Sf9 cells were more susceptible to ClO2 than High Five cells. The cells treated with ClO2 produced reactive oxygen species (ROS). The produced ROS amounts increased with an increase of the treated ClO2 amount. However, the addition of an antioxidant, vitamin E, significantly attenuated the cytotoxicity of ClO2 in a dose-dependent manner. To support the oxidative stress induced by ClO2, two antioxidant genes (superoxide dismutase (SOD) and thioredoxin-peroxidase (Tpx)) were identified from P. interpunctella EST library using ortholog sequences of Bombyx mori. Both SOD and Tpx were expressed in larvae of P. interpunctella especially under oxidative stress induced by bacterial challenge. Exposure to ClO2 gas significantly induced the gene expression of both SOD and Tpx. RNA interference of SOD or Tpx using specific double stranded RNAs significantly enhanced the lethality of P. interpunctella to ClO2 gas treatment as well as to the bacterial challenge. These results suggest that ClO2 induces the production of insecticidal ROS, which results in a fatal oxidative stress in P. interpunctella.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Agricultural Biotechnology Development Program ( 114063-03 ), Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs , Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Fumigant
  • Hemocyte
  • MTT assay
  • Plodia interpunctella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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