Int. J. Biosci.22(2), 215-223, February 2023
In leaf feeding insects, proper nourishment of larvae is dependent on the balance between nutritional content of food plants and the action of digestive enzymes in the digestive tract. In present investigation, gut digestive enzyme activities (α-amylase, proteinase and lipase) and their influence on the larval growth parameters of Eri silkworm (Samia ricini) larvae reared on different food plants viz. castor (Ricinus communis), tapioca (Manihot esculenta) and papaya (Carica papaya) were assessed. The larvae on castor showed highest α-amylase (1.50 ± 0.045 U/ml) and lipase (0.61 ± 0.012 U/ml) activities followed by larvae on tapioca (1.15 ±0.007 U/ml and 0.53 ± 0.059 U/ml respectively) and the lowest in papaya fed larvae (1.04 ± 0.009 U/ml and 0.39 ± 0.011 U/ml respectively). The highest proteinase activity was recorded in papaya fed larvae (0.045 ± 0.004 U/ml) and the lowest in castor (0.033 ± 0.001 U/ml). Our results showed highest larval survivability in castor (94.56 ± 1.84%) followed by tapioca (85.56 ± 1.93%) and lowest in papaya (62.22 ± 1.92%). Furthermore, the larvae fed on castor had the highest larval weight (6.92 ± 0.59 g) and silk gland weight (1.42 ± 0.07 g) whereas the lowest values of larval weight and silk gland weight were recorded in larvae reared on papaya leaves (4.33 ± 0.61 g and 0.65 ± 0.14 g respectively). Above results indicated that enzyme activities are functionally related with the type of food plants which subsequently determines the nutritional responses of the silkworm fed on different food plants.
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