Insecticidal Activity of Basil Oil, trans-Anethole, Estragole, and Linalool to Adult Fruit Flies of Ceratitis capitata, Bactrocera dorsalis, and Bactrocera cucurbitae

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Basil oil and its three major active constituents (trans-anethole, estragole, and linalool) obtained from basil (Oscimum basilicum L.) were tested on three tephritid fruit fly species [Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), and Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett)] for insecticidal activity. All test chemicals acted fast and showed a steep dose–response relationship. The lethal times for 90% mortality/knockdown (LT90) of the three fly species to 10% of the test chemicals were between 8 and 38 min. The toxic action of basil oil in C. capitata occurred significantly faster than in B. cucurbitae but slightly faster than in B. dorsalis. Estragole acted faster in B. dorsalis than in C. capitata and B. cucurbitae. Linalool action was faster in B. dorsalis and C. capitata than in B. cucurbitae. trans-Anethole action was similar to all three species. Methyl eugenol acted faster in C. capitata and B. cucurbitae than in B. dorsalis. When linalool was mixed with cuelure (attractant to B. cucurbitae male), its potency to the three fly species decreased as the concentration of cuelure increased. This was due to linalool hydrolysis catalyzed by acetic acid from cuelure degradation, which was confirmed by chemical analysis. When methyl eugenol (B. dorsalis male attractant) was mixed with basil oil, trans-anethole, estragole, or linalool, it did not affect the toxicity of basil oil and linalool to B. dorsalis, but it did significantly decrease the toxicity of trans-anethole and estragole. Structural similarity between methyl eugenol and trans-anethole and estragole suggests that methyl eugenol might act at a site similar to that of trans-anethole and estragole and serve as an antagonist if an action site exists. Methyl eugenol also may play a physiological role on the toxicity reduction.

Keywords: essential oil; estragole; fruit fly; linalool; trans-anethole

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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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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