, Volume 87, Issue 4, pp 721-729
Date: 05 Jul 2014

Toxicity of essential oil compounds against diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, and their impact on detoxification enzyme activities

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Abstract

Essential oils are by-products of plant metabolism that are now known to interfere with basic metabolic, physiological and behavioral functions of insects, thereby having promise for use as pest control agents. Accordingly, four essential oil compounds, thymol, 1,8-cineole, linalool and pulegone, were evaluated against the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae), to determine their acute toxicity. Thymol and 1,8-cineole were highly toxic to third instars with a LD50 of 0.22 and 0.41 μg/larva, respectively. Linalool and pulegone were moderately active against this insect species, exhibiting <45 % mortality in up to 15 μg/larva. However, in biorational mixtures pulegone was synergistic to both thymol and 1,8-cineole where the increase in activity was almost twofold. Thymol and 1,8-cineole, though active individually against P. xylostella larvae, were antagonistic as biorational mixtures. Linalool was antagonistic in all combinations. In various assays with detoxification enzymes in treated conditions, there was a significant increase in enzyme levels both in vivo and in vitro. Thymol and 1,8-cineole were the active toxicants against P. xylostella, with significant potential to control this pest as biorational mixtures in a synergistic combination with pulegone. Induction in enzyme levels by these compounds suggests possibilities of resistance, which at present remains a speculation, but cannot be summarily ignored because the induction of enzymes due to involvement of detoxification enzymes in the metabolism of a broad range of xenobiotics and secondary metabolites in plants is well known.

Communicated by M. B. Isman.