• imidacloprid;
  • ELISA;
  • avocado thrips;
  • Scirtothrips perseae


A competitive ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) technique was evaluated for quantifying titres of imidacloprid in homogenates of leaf discs sampled from avocado plants treated with systemic applications of imidacloprid 240 g litre−1SC (Admire®). Matrix effects were evident with undiluted leaf tissue homogenates, but these were effectively eliminated by dilution of homogenates in water. In a field trial conducted in a commercial nursery, there was an excellent correlation between imidacloprid residues within leaves and avocado thrips (Scirtothrips perseae Nakahara) mortality. However, with subsequent sampling over a 2-month period, the relationship between mortality and apparent imidacloprid concentration became less robust, suggesting that the material was being degraded within the plant to non-toxic metabolites. Nevertheless, assessments of thrips mortality on leaves that had been recently treated with imidacloprid established a lower threshold of activity for imidacloprid residues of 6 ng cm−2 leaf. Limitations on the use of ELISA to quantify the impact of systemic insecticides on pest populations are discussed. Copyright © 2005 Society of Chemical Industry