The antifeeding activity of 3 isoquinoline alkaloids identified from roots of Coptis japonica Makino toward 4th-instar larvae of Hyphantria cunea Drury and adults of Agelastica coerulea Baly was examined using the leaf-dipping bioassay. The biologically active constituents of the Coptis roots were characterized as the isoquinoline alkaloids berberine, palmatine and coptisine by spectroscopic analysis. In a test with H. cunea larvae, the antifeeding activity was much more pronounced in an application of a mixture of palmatine iodide and berberine chloride (1:1, wt:wt) at 250 ppm (82.3%) and 500 ppm (100%), compared with palmatine iodide (76.0%) and berberine chloride (75.4%) alone at 500 ppm. These results indicate a synergistic effect. With A. courulea adults, berberine chloride showed 57.5 and 91.1% antifeeding activity at 125 and 250 ppm, respectively; whereas, weak activity was obtained in application of 500 ppm of palmatine iodide (41.4%) and coptisine chloride (52.4%) alone. The Coptis root-derived compounds merit further study as potential insect-control agents.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2