Macaronesian plants as promising biopesticides against the crop pest Ceratitis capitata

Tavares, W.R., Jiménez, I.A., Oliveira, L., Kuhtinskaja, M., Vaher, M., Rosa, J.S., Seca, A.M.L., Bazzocchi, I.L. & Barreto, M.C. (2023) Macaronesian plants as promising biopesticides against the crop pest Ceratitis capitata.

Plants-Basel, 12(24), 4122. DOI:10.3390/plants12244122 (IF2022 4,5; Q2 Plant Sciences)
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  • Dec, 2023


Ceratitis capitata is responsible for significant economic losses in the fruit production industry, and the market lacks biopesticides that are effective but also cheaper and less contaminating, with fewer negative impacts on the environment. In this regard, the present study suggests as potential options ethanolic extracts from several Macaronesian plants, which inhibit the oviposition and are toxic to C. capitata, and whose preparation involve a non-toxic solvent (i.e., ethanol), low energy expenditure and cheap apparatus (i.e., maceration at room temperature). Among the evaluated species, the extracts of Hedychium gardnerianumCistus symphytifolius and Salvia canariensis are the most active (50 mg/mL), revealing an increase in C. capitata adults’ mortality from 21.15% to 27.41% after 72 h, a value statistically identical to azadirachtin (25.93%) at the recommended concentration (0.88 mg/mL). Considering the quantity and biomass available to prepare a biopesticide in the future, and the level of activity, the ethanolic extract of H. gardnerianum was fractionated and each fraction tested. The water fraction at 50 mg/mL proved to be more effective than the original extract, both in terms of mortality (57.69%), with LT50 = 72.5 h, and oviposition deterrence (83.43%), values statistically higher than those obtained by azadirachtin at 0.88 mg/mL. Analysis of this fraction by HPLC-MS/MS showed that it is mainly composed of glycosylated derivatives of quercetin and myricetin in addition to some triterpenes. These findings highlight some Macaronesian species, and in particular, the more polar fraction of H. gardnerianum ethanolic extract, as promising and ecological alternatives to conventional insecticides, for use in the integrated management of the C. capitata pest.