Commercialization of New Industrial Crop Germplasm and Cropping Systems
Location: Plant Physiology and Genetics Research
Title: Effects of Guayule Resin on Termite Feeding Activity
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2011
Publication Date: January 22, 2011
Citation: Slosky, L., Baker, P., Coffelt, T.A., Nakayam, F., Machtley, S.A., Hagler, J.R. 2011. Effects of Guayule Resin on Termite Feeding Activity. 22nd Annual UBRP Conference, Tucson, AZ, January 22, 2011, 22:43.
Interpretive Summary: Guayule resin has been identified as a natural and renewable potential termiticide, however, the level of guayule resin needed to impart termiticidal properties has not been demonstrated. Scientists at the University of Arizona and USDA-ARS-USALARC conducted a series of choice and no-choice experiments to quantify the effects guayule resin have on the feeding behavior of termites. Results showed that in both types of tests termites did not feed on wood or paper treated with a guayule resin concentration as low as 2.5%. The findings show that guayule resin might be used to prevent termite damage by infusion of guayule resin into lumber or as a paint additive leading toward a more environmentally benign and cost effective temiticide.
Guayule, a desert adapted plant, yields hypoallergenic rubber that is used primarily by the medical profession for rubber gloves, catheters, etc. Terpene resin, a co-product from guayule that can be extracted prior to rubber extraction, has been found to have termiticidal properties. As such, this resin could serve as a natural and renewable product for termite pest management. We conducted a series of choice and no-choice feeding studies to quantify the effect that guayule resin has on the feeding behavior of the subterranean termite, Heterotermes aureus. Composite wood blocks were impregnated with guayule resin using an acetone carrier so that their weights increased by either 5 or 35%. Then, termites were given a choice to feed on wood blocks impregnated with 0 (untreated control), 0 (acetone treated control), 5, and 35% guayule resin, respectively. The consumption of each guayule treatment was determined by calculating the weight loss of the blocks over a 28 day period. Data showed that the untreated and acetone-treated blocks were readily fed on by the termites, but the guayule-treated blocks were not. The absence of significant differences in consumption of the 5 and 35% blocks suggests that low concentrations of guayule resin can deter termite feeding activity. No-choice feeding studies were also conducted to determine if termites would feed on guayule-treated foodstuff in the absence of other dietary options. Termites were placed in various feeding arenas that only contained a single piece of filter paper treated with 0, 2.5 or 5% guayule resin in acetone. The amount of filter paper consumed for each treatment was determined by measuring the surface area missing from the filter papers. Data showed that the termites readily fed on the untreated and acetone treated filter paper, but were reticent to feed on the filter paper containing 2.5 and 5% resin. The findings show that guayule resin might be used to prevent property damage by infusion of guayule resin into lumber or as a paint additive. The use of guayule resin to control termites could lead toward more environmentally benign and cost effective termite control.