Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 78, No 2 (2013)

Botanical Insecticides in Plant Protection

Martina GRDIŠA, Kristina GRŠIĆ

Pages: 85-93


Botanical insecticides are natural compounds with insecticidal properties and their use in crop protection is as old as agricultural practice. Although they have been in use for over one hundred years, the advent of synthetic insecticides has unfortunately displaced their use today. Due to fast action, low cost, easy application and efficiency against a wide range of harmful species, synthetic insecticides have become an important part of pest management in modern agricultural systems. However, after decades of use, their negative side effects, such as toxicity to humans and animals, environmental contamination, and toxicity to non-target insects have become apparent and interest in less hazardous alternatives of pest control is therefore being renewed. Plant species with known insecticidal actions are being promoted and research is being conducted to find new sources of botanical insecticides. The most important botanical insecticide is pyrethrin, a secondary metabolite of Dalmatian pyrethrum, neem, followed by insecticides based on the essential oils, rotenone, quassia, ryania and sabadilla. Th ey have various chemical properties and modes of action. However, some general characteristics include fast degradation in sunlight, air and moisture, and selectivity to non-target insects. Unfortunately, neither of these insecticides is widely used as a pest control agent but is recognized by organic crop producers in industrialized countries.


azadirachtin; botanical insecticides; essential oils; neem; pyrethrin; rotenone

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