L-Dopa in Legume Seeds: A Chemical Barrier to Insect Attack

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Science  06 Jul 1973:
Vol. 181, Issue 4094, pp. 81-82
DOI: 10.1126/science.181.4094.81


Seeds of the genus Mucuna display both a remarkable immunity to attack by seed-eating insects and an unustially high concentration of free L-dopa. When seed powders or pure L-dopa were incorporated into artificial diets and fed to southern armyworm larvae, mortality increased, and abnormal pupae and adults resulted. At higher concentrations L-dopa acted as a feeding repellent.