Characteristics of both deliberately added and “cryptic” antioxidants were assayed from hydrophilic and lipophilic extracts from artificial diets for plant bugs, lepidopteran larvae, and green lacewings. Cryptic antioxidants are defined as substances naturally existing in diet ingredients but not deliberately added because of their antioxidant potential. Diets were tested after 1) being freshly produced, 2) stored for 48 h at 4°C, or 3) held for 48 h under rearing room conditions at 27°C. Tests included 1) a general assay of antioxidant capacity known as the ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay, 2) a cation radical-scavenging assay, 3) an ascorbic acid assay, and 4) an assay of inhibition of lipid peroxidation. In all assays, the lepidopteran diet had the highest values for protection against reactive oxygen species (ROS). The lepidopteran diet (with 0.17–0.23-mg equivalents of gallic acid equals total phenolic compounds per gram of diet) had three- to four-fold higher concentrations of phenolic compounds than did either the plant bug diet or the lacewing diet. Unexpectedly, the plant bug and the lacewing diets caused more lipid peroxidation than did the positive controls. This was attributed to the high concentrations of iron in these diets (mainly from chicken eggs), causing an ascorbate-ferric ion-induced lipid peroxidation. Diet storage, measured after 2 d at 27 or 4–6°C, caused no significant declines in overall antioxidant potential. However, storage did lead to decline in ascorbic acid. The FRAP assay offered the best potential as a general, routine test of the potential of various insect diets to resist the destructive effects of ROS. The importance of addressing issues of protection against ROS in insect diets is discussed.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2