Chemical profile, characterization and acaricidal activity of essential oils of three plant species and their nanoemulsions against Tyrophagus putrescentiae, a stored-food mite

  • Basma A. Al-Assiuty
  • Gomah E. NenaahEmail author
  • Mohamed E. Ageba


Essential oils of Ocimum basilicum (L.), Achillea fragrantissima (Forssk.) and Achillea santolina (L.) were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed using gas chromatography (GC) and GC/mass spectrometry (MS). Oil-in-water nanoemulsions (10% active ingredient) were prepared through a high-energy (ultrasonication) emulsification process. Nanoemulsions were characterized by viscosity, pH, thermodynamic stability, droplet size, polydispersity index (PDI) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements. The plant oils and their nanoemulsions showed considerable acaricidal activity against the mold mite, Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Schrank) (Sarcoptiformes: Acaridae). In a contact toxicity bioassay and 48 h post treatment, O. basilicum oil was the most toxic, followed by A. fragrantissima and A. santolina, where LC50 values were 8.4, 14.1 and 21.8 µl/cm2, respectively. LC50 for benzyl benzoate, a standard acaricide was 9.8 µl/cm2. Upon fumigation, responses also varied according to the test oil. Based on the 48-h LC50 values, the same manner of activity was also observed, where O. basilicum was the most toxic followed by A. fragrantissima and A. santolina. When prepared as nanoemulsions (particle size from 78.5 to 104.6) and tested as fumigants, toxicity of the oils was increased drastically with LC50 values of 2.2, 4.7, and 9.6 µl/l air for O. basilicum, A. fragrantissima and A. santolina, respectively. The oils showed a moderate to strong residual acaricidal activity, where O. basilicum oil was the most effective. The results suggest that appropriate nanoemulsions containing the tested oils can be developed to control T. putrescentiae after the required toxicological assessments.


Essential oils Nanoemulsions Acaricidal activity Tyrophagus putrescentiae 



The authors thank Prof. Dr. Abdel Naieem Al-Assuity for the identification and authentication of the mite species.

Author contributions

GN and BA conceived and designed the experiments. All authors conducted bioassays. GN achieved GC–Ms. All authors collected and analyzed data. GN and BA wrote the manuscript. All read and approved manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceKafrelsheikh UniversityKafr ElsheikhEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Biology, College of Arts and SciencesNajran UniversityNajranSaudi Arabia

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