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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378631

Research Project: Mitigation of Invasive Pest Threats to U.S. Subtropical Agriculture

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Blue tansy oil: chemical composition, repellent activity against aedes aegypti and attractant activity for ceratitis capitata

item STAPPEN, IRIS - University Of Vienna
item WANNER, JUERGEN - Kurt Kitzing Co
item Tabanca, Nurhayat
item BERNIER, ULRICH - Retired ARS Employee
item Kendra, Paul

Submitted to: Natural Product Communications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/2/2021
Publication Date: 2/10/2021
Citation: Stappen, I., Wanner, J., Tabanca, N., Bernier, U.R., Kendra, P.E. 2021. Blue tansy oil: chemical composition, repellent activity against aedes aegypti and attractant activity for ceratitis capitata. Natural Product Communications. 16(2): 1–8.

Interpretive Summary: The current pesticides used to control insect pests can have adverse effects on humans and the environment if used inappropriately. There is a need to identify naturally occurring (‘green’) compounds as safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides. Therefore, ARS scientists in Miami and Gainesville, FL, in collaboration with researchers from Austria and Germany, conducted research to evaluate the essential oil of blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum L. Asteraceae) as a potential source of repellents for the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and of attractants for Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata. Blue tansy essential oil (BTEO) was analyzed by gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) using non-polar and polar columns. Percent composition differed slightly between these two columns; however, there was a good correlation between compounds identified using the two methods. The main compounds identified were sabinene, camphor, myrcene, beta-pinene, and alpha-phellandrene. From the norsesquiterpenoids, four azulene derivatives were also identified: chamazulene, 3,6-dihydrochamazulene, 5,6-dihydrochamazulene and 7,12-dehydro-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrochamazulene. Laboratory bioassays with Ae. aegypti demonstrated that BTEO was not an effective repellent compared to the standard DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). In bioassays with male C. capitata, BTEO displayed only mild attraction compared to the positive control (tea tree oil); however, further studies are needed to determine if BTEO may function synergistically with other known attractants. The latter may contribute to development of improved lures for detection of this worldwide agricultural pest.

Technical Abstract: Blue tansy essential oil (BTEO) (Tanacetum annuum L.) was analyzed by GC-MS and GC-FID using two different capillary column stationary phases. Sabinene (14.0%), camphor (13.6%), myrcene (8.0%), beta-pinene (7.7%) and chamazulene (6.9%) were the main components using an SE52 column (non-polar). On a polar CW20M phase column, sabinene (15.1%), camphor (14.4%), alpha-phellandrene (7.9%), beta-pinene (7.7%), and myrcene (6.9%) were the most abundant compounds. To assess the oil for potential applications in integrated pest management strategies, behavioral bioassays were conducted to test for repellency against yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, and for attractant activity for Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata. Results showed that BTEO was not effective in repelling Ae. aegypti (minimum effective dosage: 0.625 ± 0.109 mg/cm2 compared to the standard insect repellent DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). In assays with male C. capitata, BTEO displayed mild attraction compared to two positive controls (essential oils from tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia and African ginger bush Tetradenia riparia). Additional studies are needed to identify the specific attractant chemicals in BTEO and to determine if they confer a synergistic effect when combined with other known attractants for C. capitata. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first investigation of BTEO for repellency against the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti and for attractancy to C. capitata, a major agricultural pest worldwide.