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      Bioactivity of Different Chemotypes of Oregano Essential Oil against the Blowfly Calliphora vomitoria Vector of Foodborne Pathogens


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          Calliphora vomitoria L. is a very common synanthropic blowfly. Since it is attracted by human food, it plays a main role in the transmission of foodborne diseases. Among aromatic plant essential oils (EOs), those of spices are the most suitable to protect food from insect pests. In the present work, we determined the bioactivity of three oregano EOs against C. vomitoria. The chemical analyses showed that the EOs belonged to three chemotypes, one with a prevalence of carvacrol and two with a prevalence of thymol. The bioassays showed that the bioactivity of the EOs significantly varies among chemotypes, with the thymol chemotype showing an overall higher efficacy compared to the carvacrol one.


          Blowflies play a substantial role as vectors of microorganisms, including human pathogens. The control of these insect pests is an important aspect of the prevention of foodborne diseases, which represent a significant public health threat worldwide. Among aromatic plants, spices essential oils (EOs) are the most suitable to protect food from insect pests. In this study, we determined the chemical composition of three oregano EOs and assessed their toxicity and deterrence to oviposition against the blowfly Calliphora vomitoria L. The chemical analyses showed that the EOs belonged to three chemotypes: one with a prevalence of carvacrol, the carvacrol chemotype (CC; carvacrol, 81.5%), and two with a prevalence of thymol, the thymol/ p-cymene and thymol/γ-terpinene chemotypes (TCC and TTC; thymol, 43.8, and 36.7%, respectively). The bioassays showed that although all the three EOs chemotypes are able to exert a toxic activity against C. vomitoria adults (LD 50 from 0.14 to 0.31 μL insect −1) and eggs (LC 50 from 0.008 to 0.038 μL cm −2) as well as deter the oviposition (Oviposition Activity Index, OAI, from 0.40 ± 0.04 to 0.87 ± 0.02), the bioactivity of oregano EOs significantly varies among the chemotypes, with the thymol-rich EOs (TCC and TTC) overall demonstrating more effectiveness than the carvacrol-rich (CC) EO.

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          Most cited references68

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            Traditionally, measurement of the acute toxicity of pesticides to beneficial arthropods has relied largely on the determination of an acute median lethal dose or concentration. However, the estimated lethal dose during acute toxicity tests may only be a partial measure of the deleterious effects. In addition to direct mortality induced by pesticides, their sublethal effects on arthropod physiology and behavior must be considered for a complete analysis of their impact. An increasing number of studies and methods related to the identification and characterization of these effects have been published in the past 15 years. Review of sublethal effects reported in published literature, taking into account recent data, has revealed new insights into the sublethal effects of pesticides including effects on learning performance, behavior, and neurophysiology. We characterize the different types of sublethal effects on beneficial arthropods, focusing mainly on honey bees and natural enemies, and we describe the methods used in these studies. Finally, we discuss the potential for developing experimental approaches that take into account these sublethal effects in integrated pest management and the possibility of integrating their evaluation in pesticide registration procedures.
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              In recent years, the use of essential oils (EOs) derived from aromatic plants as low-risk insecticides has increased considerably owing to their popularity with organic growers and environmentally conscious consumers. EOs are easily produced by steam distillation of plant material and contain many volatile, low-molecular-weight terpenes and phenolics. The major plant families from which EOs are extracted include Myrtaceae, Lauraceae, Lamiaceae, and Asteraceae. EOs have repellent, insecticidal, and growth-reducing effects on a variety of insects. They have been used effectively to control preharvest and postharvest phytophagous insects and as insect repellents for biting flies and for home and garden insects. The compounds exert their activities on insects through neurotoxic effects involving several mechanisms, notably through GABA, octopamine synapses, and the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. With a few exceptions, their mammalian toxicity is low and environmental persistence is short. Registration has been the main bottleneck in putting new products on the market, but more EOs have been approved for use in the United States than elsewhere owing to reduced-risk processes for these materials. Copyright © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                11 January 2021
                January 2021
                : 12
                : 1
                : 52
                [1 ]Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, 56126 Pisa, Italy; stefano.bedini@ 123456unipi.it (S.B.); priscilla.farina@ 123456phd.unipi.it (P.F.)
                [2 ]Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry-National Research Council (ICB-CNR), Via P. Gaifami 18, 95126 Catania, Italy; edoardo.napoli@ 123456icb.cnr.it
                [3 ]Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Via Bonanno 6, 56126 Pisa, Italy; guido.flamini@ 123456unipi.it (G.F.); roberta.ascrizzi@ 123456gmail.com (R.A.)
                [4 ]Department of Veterinary Science, University of Messina, SS. Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy; antonella.verzera@ 123456unime.it
                [5 ]Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia, 100, 95123 Catania, Italy; lucia.zappala@ 123456unict.it
                Author notes
                Author information
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 30 November 2020
                : 08 January 2021

                botanical insecticides,chemotypes,essential oils,repellent,diptera,foodborne disease,origanum vulgare


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