Targeted metabolite analysis and biological activity of Pieris brassicae fed with Brassica rapa var. rapa

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jan 28;57(2):483-9. doi: 10.1021/jf8031638.


For the first time, an insect-plant system, Pieris brassicae fed with Brassica rapa var. rapa, was tested for its biological capacity, namely, antioxidant (DPPH*, *NO, and O(2)*- radicals) and antimicrobial (bacteria and fungi) activities. Samples from the insect's life cycle (larvae, excrements, exuviae, and butterfly) were always found to be more efficient than the host plant. Also, P. brassicae materials, as well as its host plant, were screened for phenolics and organic acids. The host plant revealed higher amounts of both compounds. Two phenolic acids, ferulic and sinapic, as well as kaempferol 3-Osophoroside, were common to insect (larvae and excrements) and plant materials, with excrements being considerably richer. Detection of sulfated compounds in excrements, absent in host plant, revealed that metabolic processes in this species involved sulfation. Additionally, deacylation and deglycosilation were observed. All matrices presented the same organic acids qualitative profile, with the exception of excrements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Brassica rapa / chemistry*
  • Brassica rapa / physiology
  • Butterflies / chemistry*
  • Butterflies / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts