Laboratory Screening of Six Botanicals for Acaricidal Activity against Two-spotted Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae (Koch)

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The use of plant products is a promising strategy for controlling insect pests. Therefore, extracts from six plant species were evaluated against two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae under laboratory conditions, which is a major pest of commercial rose crops in Colombia. Ethanol extracts obtained from dried leaves of Solanum nigrum, Piper elongatum, Piper aduncum, Jacaranda obtusifolia, Jatropha curcas and dried bark of Ocotea debilis were chemically characterized by means of liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Effect of ethanolic extracts (600 μg/mL) was evaluated by direct application on eggs, larvae, and nymphs and adults of T. urticae. The mortality per stage of T. urticae was recorded after application of ethanol extract at 168 h (eggs), 48 h (larvae), and 96 h (nymphs and adults), respectively. S. nigrum extract was the best for inducing mortality, while P. elongatum extracts reduced the fecundity of the mites. The main secondary metabolites identified in S. nigrum and P. elongatum were flavonoids, lignans, amides, and triterpene-type of compounds with potential acaricidal effects. This work constitutes the first report of the acaricidal activity of these plants against several stages and fecundity of T. urticae.

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Tetranychus urticae Koch is a phytophagous mite capable of altering the physiological processes of plants, causing damages estimated at USD$ 4500 per hectare, corresponding to approximately 30% of the total cost of pesticides used in some important crops. Several tools are used in the management of this pest, with chemical control being the most frequently exploited. Nevertheless, the use of chemically synthesized acaricides brings a number of disadvantages, such as the development of resistance by the pest, hormolygosis, incompatibility with natural predators, phytotoxicity, environmental pollution, and risks to human health. In that sense, the continuous search for botanical pesticides arises as a complementary alternative in the control of T. urticae Koch. Although a lot of information is unknown about its mechanisms of action and composition, there are multiple experiments in lab conditions that have been performed to determine the toxic effects of botanicals on this mite. Among the most studied botanical families for this purpose are plants from the Lamiaceae, the Asteraceae, the Myrtaceae, and the Apiaceae taxons. These are particularly abundant and exhibit several results at different levels; therefore, many of them can be considered as promising elements to be included into integrated pest management for controlling T. urticae.
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