Essential oil of Siparuna guianensis as an alternative tool for improved lepidopteran control and resistance management practices


Although the cultivation of transgenic plants expressing toxins of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) represents a successful pest management strategy, the rapid evolution of resistance to Bt plants in several lepidopteran pests has threatened the sustainability of this practice. By exhibiting a favorable safety profile and allowing integration with pest management initiatives, plant essential oils have become relevant pest control alternatives. Here, we assessed the potential of essential oils extracted from a Neotropical plant, Siparuna guianensis Aublet, for improving the control and resistance management of key lepidopteran pests (i.e., Spodoptera frugiperda and Anticarsia gemmatalis). The essential oil exhibited high toxicity against both lepidopteran pest species (including an S. frugiperda strain resistant to Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab Bt toxins). This high insecticidal activity was associated with necrotic and apoptotic effects revealed by in vitro assays with lepidopteran (but not human) cell lines. Furthermore, deficits in reproduction (e.g., egg-laying deterrence and decreased egg viability), larval development (e.g., feeding inhibition) and locomotion (e.g., individual and grouped larvae walking activities) were recorded for lepidopterans sublethally exposed to the essential oil. Thus, by similarly and efficiently controlling lepidopteran strains susceptible and resistant to Bt toxins, the S. guianensis essential oil represents a promising management tool against key lepidopteran pests.