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Toxicity of essential oils to slug parasitic and entomopathogenic nematodes

Barua, A, McDonald-Howard, K, McDonnell, R, Rae, R and Williams, CD (2020) Toxicity of essential oils to slug parasitic and entomopathogenic nematodes. Journal of Pest Science, 93. pp. 1411-1419. ISSN 1612-4758

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Essential oils are being increasingly utilised as a biorational element in integrated pest management regimes. Whereas there has been much research on the effects of these oils on mortality and behaviour of pestiferous molluscs, insects and nematodes, there has (to the present authors’ knowledge) been no research into their effects on the mortality and behaviour of beneficial nematodes. We address this lacuna by conducting laboratory assays on the behaviour (thrashing assays) and mortality of 13 essential oils plus controls of Tween and water on the malacophagous nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita and two species of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN), namely: Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. Mortality results showed an “all or nothing” response with only three oils – pine oil, peppermint and lemongrass– displaying intermediate mortalities. Also, toxicity of essential oils was conserved across phylogenetically quite distinct beneficial nematode species with oil toxicity largely being repeated across the three beneficial nematodes. Thrashing assays confirmed the toxic effects of certain oils. We recommend that the effects of essential oils be tested on beneficial organisms in ecosystems before choices are made over which oils should be used. The present paper highlights some oils which are not toxic to beneficial nematodes but may affect their behaviour. Research should focus on these oils as part of a biorational control programme for pestiferous molluscs and insects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2020 09:55
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 15:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s10340-020-01251-5
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13070
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