Date of this Version
Natural Product Communications Vol. 5 (9) 2010
Natural plant extracts often contain compounds that are useful in pest management applications. The essential oil of Eupatorium capillifolium (dog-fennel) was investigated for antifungal and insecticidal activities. Essential oil obtained by hydrodistillation of aerial parts was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The major components were determined to be thymol methyl ether (=methyl thymol) (36.3%), 2,5-dimethoxy-p-cymene (20.8%) and myrcene (15.7%). Antifungal activity of the essential oil was weak against the plant pathogens Colletotrichum acutatum, C. fragariae, and C. gloeosporioides in direct bioautography assay. The E. capillifolium oil showed promising repellent activity against the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, whereas the oil exhibited moderate activity against the mosquito’s first instar larvae in a high throughput bioassay. Topical applications of the oil showed no activity against the blood-feeding female adults of A. aegypti. Eupatorium capillifolium essential oil showed a linear dose response between adult lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides) mortality and increasing oil concentration in an adulticidal activity bioassay. The dog-fennel oil was more potent than the conventional insecticide malathion. In conclusion, these combined results showed Eupatorium capillifolium oil is a promising novel source of a biological insecticide with multiple modes of action.