Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 30, pp 29936–29942 | Cite as

Biorational substitution of piperonyl butoxide in organic production: effectiveness of vegetable oils as synergists for pyrethrums

  • Patrice A. MarchandEmail author
  • Claire Dimier-Vallet
  • Rodolphe Vidal
Chemistry, Activity and Impact of Plant Biocontrol products


Piperonyl butoxide is a semi-synthetic synergist for natural pyrethrum and synthetic pyrethroid insecticides in phytochemicals and biocides. As such it is used in large quantities for crop treatments, stored grain protection, disinfestation of grain storage facilities and indoor uses. Piperonyl butoxide is consequently a regular contaminant in stored grains, and subsequently in corresponding cereal food products and meat via feed uses. Therefore it is regularly monitored and its MRL is ongoing a reassessment. It is also considered as a possible human carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor. For all these reasons and considerations most of the countries have already banned its use in Organic Farming as France in 2017. Thus, ecological substitution of with biorational and sustainable solutions is required. Vegetable oils have been described as exhibiting similar potency and synergistic effects. We have reviewed the literature and have proceeded to ecotoxicological efficacy tests in order to determine the best and most durable substitution candidates. Sesame and rape seed oil were determined to be the most efficient.


Insecticide Vegetable oils Piperonyl butoxide Synergist Endocrine disruptor Biorationals 



The author would like to thanks Taupier-Letage B. for his implication in the CASDAR program. Thanks also to Dr. Trevor M. Fenning for providing helpful advice on the editing and writing of the manuscript.

Financial support

This work about PBO substitution in organic production was initially supported by French Ministry of Agriculture -DGER (CASDAR Securbio (2011–2014) and later by French Ministry of Ecology - DGPR (Urgence PBO 2014–2015).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrice A. Marchand
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claire Dimier-Vallet
    • 2
  • Rodolphe Vidal
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Technique de l’Agriculture Biologique (ITAB)Paris Cedex 12France
  2. 2.Syndicat National des Transformateurs de Produits Naturels et de Culture Biologique (Synabio)ParisFrance

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