Neotropical Entomology

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 510–517 | Cite as

Insecticidal Activity of Piper Essential Oils from the Amazon Against the Fire Ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • R N P Souto
  • A Y Harada
  • E H A Andrade
  • J G S MaiaEmail author
Pest Management


Pepper plants in the genus Piper (Piperales: Piperaceae) are common in the Brazilian Amazon and many produce compounds with biological activity against insect pests. We evaluated the insecticidal effect of essential oils from Piper aduncum, Piper marginatum (chemotypes A and B), Piper divaricatum and Piper callosum against workers of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), as well as their chemical composition by gas chromatography and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The lowest median lethal concentration (LC50) in 48 h was obtained with the oil of P. aduncum (58.4 mg/L), followed by the oils of P. marginatum types A (122.4 mg/L) and B (167.0 mg/L), P. divaricatum (301.7 mg/L), and P. callosum (312.6 mg/L). The major chemical constituents were dillapiole (64.4%) in the oil of P. aduncum; p-mentha-1(7),8-diene (39.0%), 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone (19.0%), and (E)-β-ocimene (9.8%) in P. marginatum chemotype A and (E)-isoosmorhizole (32.2%), (E)-anethole (26.4%), isoosmorhizole (11.2%), and (Z)-anethole (6.0%) in P. marginatum chemotype B; methyleugenol (69.2%) and eugenol (16.2%) in P. divaricatum; and safrole (69.2%), methyleugenol (8.6%), and β-pinene (6.2%) in P. callosum. These chemical constituents have been previously known to possess insecticidal properties.


Biopesticides botanical insecticides essential oil composition phenylpropanoids sustainable pest management 



The authors are grateful to MCT/CNPq and FAPESPA/PA and Betty & Gordon Moore Foundation for financial support, as well as to IEPA/AP and MPEG/PA for laboratory facilities.


  1. Adams RP (2007) Identification of essential oil components by gas chromatography/quadrupole mass spectrometry. Allured Publishing Corporation, Carol StreamGoogle Scholar
  2. Almeida RRP, Souto RNP, Bastos CN, Silva MHL, Maia JGS (2009) Chemical variation in Piper aduncum and biological properties of its dillapiole-rich essential oil. Chem Biodivers 6:1427–1434PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrade EHA, Zoghbi MGB, Santos AS, Maia JGS (1998) Essential oils of Piper gaudichaudianum Kunth and P. regnellii (Miq.) C. DC. J Essent Oil Res 10:465–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrade EHA, Carreira LMM, Silva MHL, Silva JD, Bastos CN, Sousa PJC, Guimarães EF, Maia JGS (2008) Variability in essential oil composition of Piper marginatum sensu lato. Chem Biodivers 5:197–208PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (1974) Recommended methods for the detection and measurement of resistance of agricultural pests to pesticides: tentative method for adults of some major beetle pests of stored cereals with malathion or lindane, FAO method No 15. Pl Prot Bull 22:127–137Google Scholar
  6. Appel AG, Gehret MJ, Tanley MJ (2004) Repellency and toxicity of mint oil granules to red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Econ Entomol 97:575–580PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banks WA, Lofgren CS, Jouvenaz DP, Stringer CE, Bishop PM, Williams DF, Wojcik DP, Glancey BM (1981) Techniques for collecting, rearing and handling imported fire ants. USDA Sci Educ Admin Adv Agric Tech (AAT-S-21)Google Scholar
  8. Belzile AS, Majerus SL, Podeszfinski C, Guillet G, Durst T, Arnason JT (2000) Dillapiol derivatives as synergists: structure–activity relationship analysis. Pestic Biochem Physiol 66:33–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bernard CB, Arnason JT, Philogene BJR, Wanddel T (1990) In vivo effect of mixture of allelochemicals on the life cycle of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilis. Entomol Exp Appl 57:17–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bernard CB, Krishnamurty HG, Chauret D, Durst T, Philogene BJR, Sanchez-Vindas P, Hasbun C, Poveda SRL, Arnason JT (1995) Insecticidal defense of Piperaceae from the neotropics. J Chem Ecol 21:801–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bertrand MC (1992) Etudes toxicocinetiques et synergiques de l’azadirachtine dihydrogénée chez la pyrale du mais, Ostrinia nubilis. Thése de Maitrise es Sciences. Université d’Ottawa, Ottawa, 123 pGoogle Scholar
  12. Chang KS, Ahn YJ (2002) Fumigant activity of (E)-anethole identified in Illicium verum fruit against Blattella germanica. Pest Manag Sci 58:161–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellis BW, Bradley FM (1996) The organic gardener’s handbook of natural insect and disease control: a complete problem-solving guide to keeping your garden e yard healthy without chemicals. Rodale Press Emmaus, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  14. Frischkorn CGB, Frischkorn HE, Carrazzoni E (1978) Cercaricidal activity of some essential oils of plants from Brazil. Naturwisseschaften 65:480–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Handa SK, Dewan RS (1974) Evaluation of dillapiole and dihydrollapiole as synergists for pyrethrins in dust formulations. Pyrethrum Post 13:46–47Google Scholar
  16. Huang Y, Ho SH, Lee HC, Yap YL (2002) Insecticidal properties of eugenol, isoeugenol and methyleugenol and their effects on nutrition of Sitophilus zeamais Motsch. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). J Stored Prod Res 38:403–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jaramillo MS, Manos PS (2001) Phylogeny and patterns of floral diversity in the genus Piper (Piperaceae). Am J Bot 88:706–716PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karr LL, Coats JR (1988) Insecticidal properties of d-limonene. J Pest Sci 13:287–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kim DH, Ahn YJ (2001) Contact and fumigant activities of constituents of Foeniculum vulgare fruit against three coleopteran stored-product insects. Pest Manag Sci 57:301–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lichtenstein EP, Liang TT, Schulz KR, Schnoes HK, Carter GT (1974) Insecticidal and synergistic components isolated from Dill plants. J Agric Food Chem 22:658–664PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lofgren CS (1986) The economic importance and control of imported fire ants in the United States. In: Vinson SB (ed) Economic impact and control of social insects. Praeger Scientific, New York, pp 227–256Google Scholar
  22. Luz AIR, Zoghbi MGB, Andrade EHA, Silva MHL, Maia JGS (2000) Volatile constituents of Brazilian Piperaceae. Part 4. Essential oil composition of P. dactylostigmum, P. plurinervosum and P. vitaceum. J Essent Oil Res 12:94–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Luz AIR, Zoghbi MGB, Maia JGS (2003) The essential oils of Piper reticulatum L. and P. crassinervium H.B.K. Acta Amazon 33:341–344Google Scholar
  24. Maia JGS, Silva MHL, Luz AIR, Zoghbi MGB, Ramos LS (1987) Espécies de Piper da Amazônia ricas em safrol. Quim Nova 10:200–204Google Scholar
  25. Maia JGS, Green CL, Milchard MJ (1993) New source of natural safrole. Perfum Flavor 18:20–22Google Scholar
  26. Maia JGS, Zoghbi MGB, Andrade EHA, Santos AS, Silva MHL, Luz AIR, Bastos CN (1998) Constituents of the essential oil of Piper aduncum L. growing wild in the Amazon Region. Flavour Frag J 13:269–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meissner HE, Silverman J (2001) Effects of aromatic cedar mulch on the Argentine ant and the odours house ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Econ Entomol 94:1526–1531PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mukerjee SK, Saxena VS, Tomar SS (1979) New methylenedioxyphenyl synergist for pyretrins. J Agric Food Chem 27:1209–1211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ngoh SP, Choo LEW, Pang FY, Huang Y, Kini MR, Ho SH (1998) Insecticidal and repellent properties of nine volatile constituents of essential oils against the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana L. J Pest Sci 54:261–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) (2005) Mass Spectral Library (NIST/EPA/NIH, v. 2.0d). Gaithersburg, The NIST Mass Spectrometry Data CenterGoogle Scholar
  31. Santos AS, Andrade EHA, Zoghbi MGB, Maia JGS (1998) Sesquiterpenes of Amazonian Piper species. Acta Amazon 28:127–130Google Scholar
  32. Scott IM, Jensen HR, Phylogene BJR, Arnason JT (2008) A review of Piper spp (Piperaceae) phytochemistry, bioinsecticidal activity and mode of action. Phytochem Rev 7:65–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tomar SS, Maheshwari ML, Mukerjee SK (1979a) Syntheses and synergistic activity of some Pirethrum synergists from dillapiole. Agric Biol Chem 43:1479–1483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tomar SS, Maheshwari ML, Mukerjee SK (1979b) Synthesis and synergistic activity of dillapiole based pyrethrum synergists. J Agric Food Chem 27:547–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vogt JT, Shelton TG, Merchant ME, Russel SA, Tanley MJ, Appel AG (2002) Efficacy of the three citrus oil formulations against Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), the red imported fire ant. J Agric Urban Entomol 19:159–171Google Scholar
  36. Williams DF (1994) Exotic ants: biology, impact and control of induced species. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  37. Yang YC, Lee SH, Lee WJ, Choi DH, Ahn YJ (2003) Ovicidal and adulticidal effects of Eugenia caryophyllata bud and leaf oil compounds on Pediculus capitis. J Agric Food Chem 51:4884–4888PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yuncker TG (1972) The Piperaceae of Brazil. I. Piper—group I, II, III, IV. Hoehnea 2:19–366Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R N P Souto
    • 1
  • A Y Harada
    • 2
  • E H A Andrade
    • 3
  • J G S Maia
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Depto de Ciências Biológicas e da SaúdeUniv Federal do AmapáMacapáBrasil
  2. 2.Coordenação de Zoologia, Museu Paraense Emilio GoeldiBelémBrasil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em QuímicaUniv Federal do ParáBelémBrasil

Personalised recommendations