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Comparative bioactivity of selected extracts from Meliaceae and some commercial botanical insecticides against two noctuid caterpillars, Trichoplusia ni and Pseudaletia unipuncta

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Abstract

Plant-derived extracts and phytochemicals have long been a subject of research in an effort to develop alternatives to conventional insecticides but with reduced health and environmental impacts. In this review we compare the bioactivities of some plant extracts with those of commercially available botanical insecticides against two important agricultural pests, the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni and the armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta. Test materials included extracts of Azadirachta indica (neem), A. excelsa (sentang), Melia volkensii, M. azedarach (Chinaberry) and Trichilia americana, (all belonging to the family Meliaceae) along with commercial botanical insecticides ryania, pyrethrum, rotenone and essential oils of rosemary and clove leaf. Most of the extracts and botanicals tested proved to be strong growth inhibitors, contact toxins and significant feeding deterrents to both lepidopteran species. However, there were interspecific differences with T. ni generally more susceptible to the botanicals than the armyworm, P. unipuncta. All botanicals were more inhibitory to growth and toxic (through feeding) to T. ni than to P. unipuncta, except for M. azedarach which was more toxic to P. unipuncta than to T. ni. Athough, pyrethrum was the most toxic botanical to both noctuids, A. indica, A. excelsa, and M. volkensii were more toxic than ryania, rotenone, clove oil and rosemary oil for T. ni. As feeding deterrents, pyrethrum was the most potent against T. ni, whereas A. indica was the most potent against the armyworm. Based upon growth inhibition, chronic toxicity, and antifeedant activity, some of these plant extracts have levels of activity that compare favorably to botanical products currently in commercial use and have potential for development as commercial insecticides.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Nancy Brard for insect rearing and technical assistance. We also thank Ikkei Shikano, Veronica Robertson, Sylvia Altius and Sincere Wong for their assistance with bioassays. Supported in part by an International Cooperative Research Grant (F01200400010127) from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to M.B.I. and Y.R.Y.

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Akhtar, Y., Yeoung, Y.R. & Isman, M.B. Comparative bioactivity of selected extracts from Meliaceae and some commercial botanical insecticides against two noctuid caterpillars, Trichoplusia ni and Pseudaletia unipuncta . Phytochem Rev 7, 77–88 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-006-9048-7

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