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Horticultural oils: possible alternatives to chemical pesticides and insecticides


The farmers and agrochemical industries lack science-based knowledge about sustainable utilization of pesticides and insecticides. The investigation on rising use of chemical pesticides and insecticides has remarkable issue related to environment pollution, soil fertility, and human health; as such, nowadays, many people prefer natural alternatives over synthetic chemicals. Natural products, like horticultural oils, play a significant role for sustainable and safe integrated pest management, providing natural alternatives to chemical pesticides and insecticides. For several decades, both plant- and petroleum-based spray oils have been always used to control various pests, mites, and insects. Currently, these horticultural oils are used as a part of the integrated pest management, which utilizes secure and non-chemical pesticides rather than conventional pesticides. Horticultural oil refers to a complex mixture of hydro-carbons with traces of sulfur- and nitrogen-based compounds, extracted from plants. The key components of horticultural oils include paraffin and olefin. The horticultural oils are considered suitable since they are non-toxic to both plants and animals, are applied easily, have low risk properties, cost-effective, and play significant role in pest control, but show little effects on the beneficial insects. As a result, these attributes make horticultural oils to be considered as secure and effective alternative for chemical insecticides and pesticides for both commercial and domestic agriculture.

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This work was supported by the Zhejiang Provincial Ten Thousand Program for Leading Talents of Science and Technology Innovation, the Zhejiang Provincial Program for the Cultivation of High-Level Innovative Health Talents, and the Pre-research Projects of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University (2018ZG30).

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Correspondence to Shivraj Hariram Nile.

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Nile, A.S., Kwon, Y.D. & Nile, S.H. Horticultural oils: possible alternatives to chemical pesticides and insecticides. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 21127–21139 (2019).

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  • Natural pesticides
  • Petroleum oils
  • Herbal
  • Agrochemicals
  • Phytotoxicity