Brazil Embrapa develops insecticide based on Piper aduncum L.
Dec. 18, 2020
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is developing a powerful insecticide based on the essential oil of spiked pepper, Piper aduncum L., a plant abundant in the Amazon region.
The plant is rich in dillapiole, which, in tests carried out, reduced the attack of the pests, Strymon megarus and Thlastocoris laetus, by 87%.
The biopesticide was also shown to be effective in controlling Spodoptera frugiperda caterpillars at a rate of 98%. In addition, it controlled the citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri), an insect that transmits the bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter spp., the causative agent of Greening (Huanglongbing - HLB), a major citrus disease. The lethality of psyllid during the nymph stage is between 90% and 100%, and in adult insect this reached 99%.
“We tested different dosages in a controlled environment and in field conditions. The results helped us understand the features of the product and the behaviors of insects and plants under various conditions, such as temperature, humidity and light. We found that thin-leaf vegetables were sensitive to dillapiole and, due to this, we are looking for private sector partners to determine appropriate formulations for each crop,” said Murilo Fazolin, who is the researcher responsible for the studies.
According to him, dillapiole will enhance the sustainability of agriculture in Brazil, since it degrades easily without posing risks to health or the environment. Studies on its use on crops aim to enable its commercial use as a botanical insecticide and in combination with conventional insecticides to increase the effectiveness of these products in controlling pests, reduce the application of chemicals in agricultural production and minimize impacts on human health and the environment.
“Dillapiole can help in the development of industrial synergistic formulations of insecticides made from different chemical groups, including pyrethroid products, synthetic pesticides with chemical compounds that look like natural substances. It is possible to add a quarter of a liter of spiked pepper essential oil per liter of conventional insecticide, and reduce the recommended commercial dose by 25%,” Fazolin added.
Studies by the Brazilian company revealed that there is a promising market for essential oils, due to their wide range of industrial applications. Insecticides with natural active ingredients are sought after products, since they can be used in the integrated pest management of commercial crops in both conventional agriculture and organic production.
Embrapa researchers are now looking for partnerships with the productive sector to develop a commercial product. The essential oil with a concentration of 80% dillapiole is in the process of being registered for regular use at Mapa, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and the Brazilian Environment Institute (Ibama).
Fazolin stressed that partnerships with agrochemical companies and other industrial segments are essential to using the project in commercial formulations suitable for different cultures. “We are prepared for the initial production of the essential oil to supply partners interested in investing in the industrial use of dillapiole, and we have quality genetic materials,” Fazolin said in conclusion.
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