Essential oils from Foeniculum vulgare Miller as a safe environmental insecticide against the aphid Myzus persicae Sulzer
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Aphids are an important agricultural pest that not only damage plants by suction, but can also transmit a number of economically important plant viruses. Protection against aphids is based on the use of synthetic insecticides. However, these products can be dangerous for non-target organisms. Therefore, it is important to develop new, environmentally safe plant protection methods.
In this study, we have tested an essential oil (EO) obtained from Foeniculum vulgare for the mortality of Myzus persicae, an important polyphagous pest, its natural predator Harmonia axyridis, and Eisenia fetida as a representative of soil organisms. The EO, with its major compounds trans-anethole (67.9%) and fenchone (25.5%), was found to provide excellent efficacy against M. persicae (LC50 = 0.6 and LC90 = 2.4 mL L−1) while not causing any significant mortality of the tested non-target organisms. On the contrary, application of an insecticide based on the active substance alpha-cypermethrin not only caused mortality in the aphids, but also had a fatal negative effect on both the non-target organisms we tested, resulting in their high mortality.
Our results indicate very high prospects for using the essential oil from F. vulgare in the development of environmentally safe botanical insecticides designed for plant protection against aphids.
KeywordsBotanical insecticides Essential oils Harmonia axyridis Eisenia fetida No-target organisms
The author would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic for financial support of the botanical pesticide and basic substance research.
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