Research matters... a novel natural insecticide

Dr Ken Cockshull, Emeritus Fellow at Warwick HRI, highlights the latest findings from horticultural research.

Liriomyza trifolii, a leaf miner, is a serious pest of many glasshouse crops and effective control measures are needed urgently. One promising approach is to use compounds that occur naturally in plants. In the research reported here, leaves of Drosophyllum lusitanicum, an insectivorous plant, were used as they contain "plumbagin", a compound that has various biological activities.

The plant is native to the Algarve in Portugal. Leaves were collected from the wild, dried at 40 degsC for two days, powdered, and then extracted with n-hexane. Plant shoots were also multiplied in a tissue-culture system before being extracted. Adult female leaf miners were collected in the laboratory and kept unfed until the experiments started. Plant extracts of different concentrations were produced and tested in a contact assay. All insects that were in contact with the highest concentration of plant extract died within a day. Insects that were fed the plant extract also died but more slowly.

"Plumbagin" was the main insecticidal compound present but its effectiveness was probably enhanced by other, minor components of the extract. Encouragingly, suitable plant material could be multiplied using tissue-culture techniques as this should ensure that the wild populations of the plant and its natural habitat are not damaged.

Insecticidal Activity of Leaf Extracts from Drosophyllum lusitanicum against Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) by Goncalves, Goncalves, Ameixa, Nogueira and Romano (2008). Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology 83 (5): 653-657. The authors' abstract of their manuscript can b e seen in full at www.jhortscib.com.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

GroSouth 2017 update

GroSouth 2017 update

First-time and established exhibitors are preparing to showcase products and services at this year's show in West Sussex, Gavin McEwan reports.

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Avoid costly damage by this serious plant pest.


Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Peter Seabrook looks forward to garden centre pepper-tasting weekends.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles