Mode of Action of a Novel Nonchemical Method of Insect Control: Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Discharge

Authors: Donohue, Kevin V.; Bures, Brian L.; Bourham, Mohamed A.; Roe, R. Michael

Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 99, Number 1, February 2006 , pp. 38-47(10)

Publisher: Entomological Society of America

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Atmospheric pressure plasma discharge (APPD) has been applied to a number of industrial applications, including the bacterial sterilization of medical equipment of bacteria. APPD may also have applications in insect control. A positive correlation was found between exposure time to APPD and mortality of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande); tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds); Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse); twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch; and German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.), with the level of mortality also increasing with time after treatment. Cockroaches exposed to APPD for 60, 90, 120, and 180 s lost on average 7.5 ± 0.8, 8.1 ± 0.6, 8.7 ± 0.4, and 10.1 ± 1.1 (±1 SEM) mg of water weight, respectively, which was an increase over that of the controls. The metabolic rate of cockroaches exposed to plasma for 180 s increased from 0.79 ± 0.03 to 1.07 ± 0.04 ml of oxygen consumed mg-cockroach−1 h−1 at standard temperature and pressure. The level of cuticular hydrocarbons identified by electron impact gas chromatography-mass spectrometry were not significantly affected by plasma exposure in the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), German cockroach, and citrus mealybug, Planococcus citri (Risso), except for a reduction in n-tritriacontane in the latter. However, changes in the behavior of cockroaches after plasma exposure, including the loss of photo-, vibro-, and thigmotropic responses, inability to right themselves, and hyperexcitatory symptoms, suggest that the site of action of APPD in insects is the nervous and/or neuromuscular system.
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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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