Metabolic Detoxification: Mechanism of Insect Resistance to Plant Psoralens

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Science  22 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4608, pp. 374-376
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4608.374


Larvae of the black swallowtail butterfly, Papilio polyxenes Stoll, forage successfully on plants that contain high levels of photosensitizing psoralens. These insects rapidly detoxify psoralens, particularly in the midgut tissue prior to absorption, with the result that appreciable levels of unmetabolized phototoxin do not enter the body circulation where deleterious light-induced interactions with dermal or subdermal tissues would occur.