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Title: Tea, coffee, and cocoa as ultraviolet radiation protectants for beet armyworm nucleopolyhedrovirus

item EL SALAMOUNY, SAID - Cairo University
item RANWALA, D - Clemson University
item SHEPARD, BUFORD - Clemson University
item SHAPIRO, MARTIN - Clemson University
item Farrar, Robert

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2009
Publication Date: 10/1/2009
Citation: El Salamouny, S., Ranwala, D., Shepard, B., Shapiro, M., Farrar, R.R. 2009. Tea, coffee, and cocoa as ultraviolet radiation protectants for beet armyworm nucleopolyhedrovirus. Journal of Economic Entomology. 102:1767-1773.

Interpretive Summary: Insect pests cause major losses to crop production throughout the world. Pesticides used to control them are expensive and can be dangerous to people and harmful to the environment. Insect viruses can be used to control many pests without risk to people or the environment. However, sunlight can destroy insect viruses before they have a chance to work. We found that tea, coffee, and other beverages can be used to effectively protect insect viruses from sunlight, allowing them time to work. These beverages are more readily available and cheaper than many other materials previously used to protect insect viruses from sunlight. We expect that this information will be used by farmers and gardeners both in this country and in developing countries to improve the efficacy of insect viruses and reduce costs. This development will lead to improved insect control while also reducing conventional insecticide use and the problems of environmental contamination and worker exposure.

Technical Abstract: The addition of 1% (wt/v) aqueous extracts of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) (Malvales: Malvaceae), coffee (Coffea arabica L.) (Gentianales: Rubiaceae), green, and black tea (Camellia sinensis L.) (Ericales: Theaceae) provided excellent ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection for the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), nucleopolyhedrovirus SeMNPV under laboratory conditions. Aqueous extracts of coffee, green tea, and black tea at 0.5 percent still provided 85 to 100 percent UV protection, whereas cocoa provided 50 percent UV protection. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an important component of green tea, and caffeine, an important component of tea and coffee, were also tested as UV protectants. Both compounds were ineffective when tested alone. When EGCG and caffeine were combined, UV protection increased in a synergistic manner but less than 35 percent of the original virus activity was maintained. This study demonstrated that coffee was comparable to green tea and black tea as a UV protectant. Further studies should be conducted to optimize their use in biopesticide formulations.