Comparative toxicity of oxygenated monoterpenoids in experimental hydroalcoholic lotions to permethrin-resistant adult head lice


The use of botanical compounds such as essential oils has recently become the subject of great interest as a natural means of pest control because of their ovicidal, larvicidal, or adulticidal activity against various insect species including head lice. We tested and compared the efficacy of pure oxygenated monoterpenoids that are main ingredients of essential oils of good biological activity. We used pulegone and citral, components of Aloysia citrodora, and geraniol, citronellol, and linalool, components of Geranium sp. oil. We found that citronellol and geraniol showed the highest knockdown and mortality effect (>60%) on adults of both sexes (50:50%) and third-stage nymphs. Pulegone, linalool, and citral showed knockdown percentages between 42 and 55%, and mortality percentages between 47 and 53%. A simple linear regression analysis showed statistically significant relationships between the studied toxic effects and viscosity of the monoterpenoids (p < 0.05), but not with their partition coefficient (log P).

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We are especially grateful to Hogar Belgrano. This investigation received financial support from ELEA S.A. (Argentina) and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica (Argentina).

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Correspondence to Gastón Mougabure-Cueto.

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Gonzalez-Audino, P., Picollo, M.I., Gallardo, A. et al. Comparative toxicity of oxygenated monoterpenoids in experimental hydroalcoholic lotions to permethrin-resistant adult head lice. Arch Dermatol Res 303, 361–366 (2011).

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  • Head lice
  • Monoterpenoids
  • Permethrin resistant
  • Structure–activity correlation