Although antibiotics have different molecular modes of actions, increasing evidence for their secondary effects suggests that they disturb cellular homeostasis by generating free radical intermediates that trigger lipid peroxidation, which leads to oxidative stress. Streptomycin is an antibiotic insecticide used to control pest insects and microbial diseases of agricultural crops. We investigated the biochemical basis for pro-oxidative effects of streptomycin in the midgut tissues of greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella (L) seventh-instar larvae by measuring content of the oxidative stress indicator, malondialdehyde (MIDA), and antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)] and transaminases [alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST)] activities. The insects were reared from first-instar larvae on artificial diets containing 0.001, 0.01, 0.1 or 1.0 g streptomycin per 100 g of diets. The supplementation of streptomycin at high concentrations to the diets caused oxidative stress as evidenced by the elevation of MDA content, SOD and GPx activities, accompanied by the concurrent depletion of CAT and GST activities. The streptomycin-induced oxidative stress was also accompanied by decreases of transaminases activities in midgut tissues. We found a significant negative correlation of MDA contents with GST activities in the larval midgut tissues. These results suggest that exposure to dietary streptomycin resulted in oxidative stress which could impact midgut digestive physiology at the expense of impairment of antioxidant and transaminases enzymes in G. mellonella larvae. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.