The Potential of Biofumigants as Alternatives to Methyl Bromide for the Control of Pest Infestation in Grain and Dry Food Products

  • Eli ShaayaEmail author
  • Moshe Kostyukovsky


Fumigation is still one of the most effective methods for the protection of stored grain and dry food from insect infestations. Phosphine and methyl bromide are the most widely used fumigants for the control of stored-product insects. Phosphine is mainly used today, but there are repeated reports that a number of storage pests have developed resistance to this fumigant. Methyl bromide has been identified as a contributor to ozone depletion by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization in 1995 and, thus, was phased out in most developed countries. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop alternatives with the potential to replace these fumigants.

The primary aims of the current study are to evaluate the potential use of essential oils obtained from aromatic plants as insect fumigants and to evaluate the toxicity of the known isothiocyanates (ITCs) as compared to a new ITC isolated from Eruca sativa (salad rocket) as fumigants for the control of stored-product insects. Also, the biological activity of carbon disulphide (CS2), methyl iodide (CH3I), and benzaldehyde (C7H6O) is evaluated.

The toxicity of the various fumigants was assessed against adults, larvae, and pupae of six major stored-product insects. Two essential oils isolated from Lamiaceae plants were found to be the most potent fumigants as compared with a large number of other essential oils. ITCs are also potential candidates, especially methylthio-butyl isothiocyanate, the main bioactive component in E. sativa, because of its low toxicity. Comparative studies with CH3I, CS2, and C7H6O showed that CH3I was the most active compound against stored-product insects, followed by CS2 and C7H6O. CH3I was also found to be less sorptive and less penetrative in wheat than CS2.


Aromatic Plant Methyl Bromide Carbon Disulphide Pest Infestation Possible Human Carcinogen 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceARO, the Volcani CenterBet Dagan 50250Israel

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