• SMART;
  • essential oil;
  • mitotic recombination;
  • genetic toxicity



Higher rates of diseases transmitted from insects to humans led to the increased use of organophosphate insecticides, proven to be harmful to human health and the environment. New, more effective chemical formulations with minimum genetic toxicity effects have become the object of intense research. These formulations include larvicides derived from plant extracts such as dillapiol, a phenylpropanoid extracted from Piper aduncum, and from microorganisms such as spinosad, formed by spinosyns A and D derived from the Saccharopolyspora spinosa fermentation process. This study investigated the genotoxicity of dillapiol and spinosad, characterising and quantifying mutation events and chromosomal and/or mitotic recombination using the somatic mutation and recombination test (SMART) in wings of Drosophila melanogaster.


Standard cross larvae (72 days old) were treated with different dillapiol and spinosad concentrations. Both compounds presented positive genetic toxicity, mainly as mitotic recombination events. Distilled water and doxorubicin were used as negative and positive controls respectively.


Spinosad was 14 times more genotoxic than dillapiol, and the effect was found to be purely recombinogenic. However, more studies on the potential risks of insecticides such as spinosad and dillapiol are necessary, based on other experimental models and methodologies, to ensure safe use. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry