Acute Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Terpenoids and Essential Oils on the Predator Chrysoperla externa (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae)
The search for new safer insecticides has increased in recent agriculture. Botanical compounds such as terpenoids and plant essential oils with insecticidal activity could represent important tools in pest management, and their risk assessment against non-target organisms is necessary since they may serve as a precursor for the synthesis of new insecticide active ingredients. For this study, the acute toxicity and sublethal effects of seven terpenoids and three essential oils with recognized insecticidal activity were evaluated on the predator Chrysoperla externa (Hagen) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) in laboratory bioassays. Results indicate that these compounds feature relative selectivity to the predator C. externa; however, sublethal effects on reproduction were recorded for some compounds. The phenolic monoterpenoids carvacrol and thymol were more acutely toxic than other terpenoids screened, with LD50 <20,000 μg/g; however, they were less toxic than natural pyrethrins (toxicity standard) in these bioassays. Sublethal effects on fecundity and fertility were observed for R-(+)-limonene, while oregano oil only affected fecundity. The compounds evaluated here have potential to be used as insecticides and can serve as backbone for future synthesis of selective active ingredients; however, a complete risk assessment to C. externa and other non-target organisms is necessary for their incorporation in future crop protection paradigms.