Comparative antifeedant activities of polygodial and pyrethrins against whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) and aphids (Myzus persicae)




Polygodial, a sesquiterpene dialdehyde of the drimane family, has been shown to have deterrent and antifeedant effects on various insect species, including Myzus persicae (Sulzer), Spodoptera spp. and Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say). This compound may have potential as a broad-spectrum biocontrol agent, similar to pyrethrins, given that it was previously reported to improve yield when sprayed on barley fields.


This study compares the deterrent effect of polygodial and pyrethrins against the silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and the green peach aphid M. persicae in dual-choice assays using compound-coated tomato leaf discs. B. tabaci adults were deterred by polygodial at an ED50 (effective dose at which 50% of the insects are deterred) of about 25 µg g−1 fresh weight (FW), and green peach aphids at about 54 µg g−1 FW. Bioassays were benchmarked with pyrethrins that had a 20-fold lower ED50 of approximately 1.4 µg g−1 FW against whiteflies, but only a twofold lower ED50 (about 28 µg g−1 FW) against peach aphids. Polygodial showed moderate phytotoxic effects (score of 2 on a scale of 1–5) on tomato leaves at concentrations above the ED50 concentrations (≥90 µg g−1 FW).


The sesquiterpene dialdehyde polygodial is 2–20 times less deterrent than pyrethrins, depending on the insect species, but it could provide a useful complement to pyrethrin sprays as it has a different mode of action, is food grade and has low volatility. However, a formulation that reduces the risks of phytotoxic effects should be developed. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry