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Embrapa researches use of basil oil to control Helicoverpa armigeraqrcode

Jun. 1, 2020

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Jun. 1, 2020
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is developing a bio-insecticide to control caterpillars of the species Helicoverpa armigera and Anticarsia gemmatalis produced based on basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum L.).

These two pests attack several important Brazilian cultures and cause losses worth millions of real to agricultural production in the country.

According to Embrapa’s researchers, when applying the essential oil of this plant on bean leaves, they discovered that about half the population of the Helicoverpa armigera caterpillars died. As for the Anticarsia gemmatalis, also called the soybean caterpillar, the fatality rate reached 30%.

The research indicated that the oil's toxicity is low, if any, for the environment and agricultural crops. Scientists say that the introduction of this biological control can reduce the use of agrochemicals within an integrated pest management system (IPM), contributing to a decrease in the resistance of insect pest populations to insecticidal molecules on the market.

"These oils can also become another tool for insect control in organic agriculture, in which these compounds are allowed, expanding the range of possibilities for pest management," says Embrapa researcher Jeanne Marinho Prado.

Basil was the most effective among nine plants whose essential oils were tested to control the two caterpillars in the research and produced inferior results. Also included in the experiment were the oils of sweet orange (Citrus aurantium dulce), ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia), cinnamon cassia (Cinnamommum cassia), citronella (Cymbopogon sp.), Mint (Mentha arvensis), oregano (Origanum vulgare), thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and basilicão (Ocimum basilicum L.).

Source: AgroNews

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