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Chilean journal of agricultural research

versión On-line ISSN 0718-5839

Chilean J. Agric. Res. vol.72 no.4 Chillán dic. 2012 

Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research 72(4) October - December 2012


Bioactivity of Lantana camara L. essential oil against Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius)

Bioactividad de aceite esencial de Lantana camara L. contra Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius)

Nooshin Zandi-Sohani1*, Mohammad Hojjati2, and Ángel A. Carbonell-Barrachina3

1Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University, Department of Plant Protection, Mollasani, Ahvaz, Iran. *Correspongin author (
2Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University, Department of Food Science & Technology, Mollasani, Ahvaz, Iran.
3Universidad MIguel Hernández, Departamento Tecnología Agroalimentaria, Carretera de Beniel, 03312-Orihuela, Alicante, España.

Lantana camara L. is a widespread plant species mostly native to subtropical and tropical regions of the world. In this study, insecticidal and repellent activities of L. camara essential oil were evaluated against Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius) (Col: Bruchidae). Analysis of chemical composition by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) showed high amounts of sesquiterpenes, mainly α-humelene (23.3%) and cis-caryophyllene (16.2%). The results showed that the essential oil of L. camara has strong repellent activity against adults of C. maculatus at all tested concentrations. After 2 and 4 h, 97.4 and 100% repellency was seen at highest concentrations of 0.4 μL cm-2, respectively. Moreover, the oil was found to be toxic to adults when applied by fumigation. Responses varied with the gender of insect and exposure time. The LC50 values were 282.7 and 187.9 μL L-1 for females and males, respectively. An increase in the exposure time from 3 to 24 h caused increasing in mortality from 23.6 to 100% in males and from 14.1 to 97.1% in females, at highest concentration (1160 μL L-1). According to these results, L. camara essential oil may be useful as an alternative for bean protection against C. maculatus.

Key words: Fumigant, insecticidal activity, bean protection, Lantana camara.

Lantana camara L. es una especie vegetal nativa de las regiones subtropicales y tropicales del mundo. En este estudio se evaluaron las actividades insecticida y repelente del aceite esencial de L. camara contra Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius). El análisis de la composición volátil de este aceite esencial mediante cromatografía de gas/ espectrometría de masa (GC/MS) demostró la presencia de elevadas cantidades de sesquiterpenos, principalmente α-humuleno (23.3%) y ci's-cariofileno (16.2%). Los resultados obtenidos demostraron que el aceite esencial de L. camara tiene una elevada actividad repelente contra los adultos de C. maculatus a todas las concentraciones ensayadas. Después de 2 y 4 h la concentración de 0.4 μL cm-2 causó 97,4% y 100% de actividad repelente, respectivamente. Además, este aceite esencial fue tóxico para los adultos cuando se aplicó mediante fumigación. Las respuestas a este tratamiento dependieron del sexo del insecto y del tiempo de exposición. Los valores de LC50 fueron 282,7 y 187,9 μL L-1 para hembras y machos, respectivamente. Un incremento del tiempo de exposición desde 3 a 24 h causó un aumento de la mortalidad de 23,6% a 100% en machos y desde 14,1% a 97,1% en hembras, a la mayor concentración ensayada (1160 μL L-1). De acuerdo a estos resultados, podemos concluir que el aceite esencial de L. camara puede ser una alternativa útil en la protección de legumbres contra los ataques de C. maculatus.

Palabras clave: fumigantes, actividad insecticida, protección de legumbres, Lantana camara.

The genus Lantana (Verbenaceae) is mostly native to subtropical and tropical regions and now occurs in approximately 50 countries in the world. Lantana camara L., commonly known as wild or red sedge, is the most widespread species of this genus and it is very popular as ornamental plant (Ghizalberti, 2000). The plant has been used in many parts of the world to treat a wide variety of disorders. It has been used as folk remedies for cancer and tumors. Fevers, cold, rheumatisms, asthma, and high blood pressure were treated with preparations from this plant (Rose, 1999). Toxic and poisoning properties of L. camara have been reported long ago and it has caused illness and even death in livestock and humans (Morton, 1994).

The pulse beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus Fabricus (Col: Bruchidae), is a major pest of economically important leguminous grains, such as cowpeas, lentils, green gram, and black gram (Raja et al., 2000; Park et al., 2003). Chemical pesticides are commonly applied, to prevent damage of this pest but there is urgent need for an alternative solution for protection of harvest.

In recent years research is increasing to use plant secondary metabolites, particularly essential oils, as natural pesticides for crop protection and storage, because of their low toxicity to human beings and minimal environmental impact, in contrast to some synthetic pesticides. Some plants have received global attention and their secondary metabolites have been formulated as botanical pesticides in plant protection.

Chemical composition, antibacterial, antifungal properties of L. camara have been studied in previous researches (Deena and Thoppil, 2000; Kruade et al., 2010; Vadlapudi and Naidu, 2010; Saraf et al., 2011; Saikia and Sahoo, 2011). Insecticidal activities of L. camara essential oil have also been reported on Sitophilus spp. (Mohamed and Abdelgaleil, 2008; Zoubiri and Baaliouamer, 2011) and Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) (Mohamed and Abdelgaleil, 2008). In this study, the volatile composition, fumigant and repellency activity of essential oil, from Iranian L. camara, have been studied on one of the most economically important storage pest, Callosobruchus maculatus.


Plant materials
Fresh leaves of L. camara were collected during spring 2011 from Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University in Khuzestan province, Iran, where this species is sown as ornamental plant. Leaves were subjected to hydrodistillation in a Clevenger-type apparatus for 4 h. The collected oil was dried over anhydrous sodium sulfate and stored at 4 °C until use.

Analysis of the essential oil
The isolation, identification, and quantification of the essential oil compounds were performed with a gas chromatograph Shimadzu GC-17A (Shimadzu Corporation, Kyoto, Japan) coupled with a Shimadzu mass spectrometer detector GC/MS QP-5050A. Analyses GC/MS were carried out using helium as carrier gas at a flow rate of 0.9 mL min-1 in a split ratio of 1:20 on DB-5 column (30 m x 0.25 mm i.d., 0.25 um film thickness) and the following temperature program: (a) 80 °C for 0 min; (b) rate of 3 °C min-1 from 80 to 250 °C; (c) rate of 25 °C min-1 from 250 to 300 °C and hold for 5 min. Injector and detector temperatures were 200 and 300 °C, respectively. Essential oil compounds were identified and confirmed by matching their retention times (authentic standards), retention indices (RI), and NIST05 mass spectral library collection (NIST, 2011). Analyses were run in triplicate.

Insect culture

Cultures of C. maculatus were obtained from our stock culture and reared in the laboratory on cowpea Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. in plastic containers at 25 ± 1 °C, 65 ± 5% relative humidity and dark. Experiments were carried out under the same environmental conditions.

Fumigant toxicity
To assess LC50 and LC95 of L. camara essential oil to C. maculatus, 20 female and male adults (1-7 d old) were placed in 50 mL plastic vials with screw caps, separately. Filter papers (Whatman N° 2, cut into 1 cm diameter discs) were impregnated with oils at doses equivalent to provide fumigant concentrations of 100, 160, 240, and 300 μL L-1 of air for males and 180, 300, 400, and 480 μL L-1 air for females. These concentrations were selected after preliminary tests. The discs were attached to the vial caps and caps were screwed tightly on vials. Control insects were kept in the same conditions without any essential oil. Each dose was replicated five times. The number of dead beetles was counted after 24 h of exposure to the essential oils. The Abbott (1925) formula was used to correct natural mortality in controls. Data obtained from dose response bioassays were subjected to probit analysis (Finney, 1971) to estimate LC50 and LC95 values using SAS software version 6.12 (SAS Institute, 1997).

A bioassay was designed to determine effect of exposure time on adults' mortality. Twenty female and male adults were exposed separately, to concentrations of 300, 600, 840, 1000, and 1160 μL L-1 air of L. camara essential oil in 50 mL plastic vials, like in the method previously described. Each dose and control was replicated five times. The exposure time for each dose was 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 h. The mortality was calculated using Abbott's correction formula for natural mortality in untreated control (Abbott, 1925).

Repellent activity
Petri dishes of 8 cm diameter were used to evaluate repellency of L. camara oil, using the choice bioassay system. The bottom of Petri dishes were covered with filter paper, and half of the filter paper was impregnated with 0.5 mL of acetone and another half were treated with acetonic solutions of different concentrations of essential oil (0.02-0.4 μL cm-2) and dried for 5 min under a fume extractor. Twenty adults of C. maculatus were introduced into each Petri dish and the lid was sealed with parafilm. The experiment was replicated five times and the environmental conditions were the same as those described for insect rearing. The number of insects on each half of the filter paper was counted after 2 and 4 h of exposure. Percentage repellency (PR) values were computed as PR = [(NC - NT)/(NC + NT)] x 100, where NC = number of insects in the control area and NT = number of insects in the treated area (Nerio et al., 2009).

Statistical analysis
Experimental data were subjected to ANOVA and the Tukey's least significant difference multi-comparison test to determine significant differences among samples. Statistical analyses were carried out using Statgraphics Plus 5.1 software (Manugistics, Rockville, Maryland, USA).


Chemical compounds of essential oil
The major constituent of essential oil of L. camara identified by GC-MS analysis were α-humelene, cis-caryophyllene, germacrene-D, bicyclogermacrene, aromadendrene, and β-curcumine. Other important component includes humulene oxide, sabinene, α-terpineol, caryophyllene oxide, zingeberene, α-pinene, geranyl acetate, and β-elemene (Table 1). The chemical composition of the essential oil of Iranian L. camara described in this study agreed quite well with those previously reported in the literature; however, there were differences in relative quantities of volatile compounds. Among the main compounds, sabinene (Sefidkon, 2002; Saikia and Sahoo, 2011), germacrene-D (Khan et al., 2002), bicyclogermacrene (Sefidkon, 2002; Saikia and Sahoo, 2011), zingeberene (Kruade et al., 2010) and caryophyllene oxide (Zoubiri and Baaliouamer, 2011) have been reported from essential oils of L. camara leaves in other studies. Differences in quality and quantity of essential oil composition among this study and others may be due to genetic, climate, geographical, and seasonal variations.

Table 1. Volatile composition of the essential oil from Lantana camara leaves.

1Retention indices were calculated for a DB-5 column and literature values were obtained from NIST (2011).
2Relative percentage obtained from peak area.

Fumigant toxicity
The essential oil of L. camara showed fumigant toxicity to C. maculatus adults (Table 2). However, males (LC50: 187.9 μL L-1) were more susceptible than females (LC50: 282.7 μL L-1). A strong difference in insect mortality was observed as the oil concentration and exposure time were increased (Figure 1) and there was a significant difference in male and female mortality (df = 1,100; F = 549.3; p < 0.001). At the lowest concentration (360 uL L-1), L. camara oil caused 63.2% and 55.4% mortality after 24 h in males and females, respectively. However, at 1000 μL L-1, 100% mortality was observed for males. The mortality of females reached 97.1% at highest dose (1160 uL L-1) after 24 h. These results were similar to those of Zoubiri and Baaliouamer (2011), who showed that mortality of Sitophilus granarius adults increased with increasing concentration of L. camara essential oil. The studies of Bouda et al. (2001) revealed that the essential oil of L. camara had potential to control Sitophilus zeamais and a mortality rate of 100% was recorded for the highest concentration (0.5% v/w). According to Mohamed and Abdelgaleil (2008), L. camara essential oil showed good contact and fumigant insecticidal activity against Sitophilus oryzae and Tribolium castaneum, while the oil was more effective against S. oryzae than T castaneum when used as fumigant.

Table 2. Fumigant toxicity of Lantana camara essential oil to Callosobruchus maculatus adults.

+Mean (minimum-maximum); SE: Standard error; LC: Lethal concentration.

Figure 1. Mortality percentage of adults of Callosobruchus maculatus at various concentrations of Lantana camara essential oil and different exposure times.


Repellency activity
The essential oil of L. camara showed significant repellent activity against the adults of C. maculatus at all concentrations. Generally, repellency increased when concentrations increased. Furthermore, the repellent activity was increased when insects were exposed for a longer time (Table 3). Complete repellency was only observed when the highest concentration (0.4 μL cm-2) was applied for 4 h. To the best of our knowledge, no study has previously been reported on the repellency activity of L. camara against stored product pests; however, essential oils from other plants have been previously evaluated for their repellent activity against Acanthoscelides obtectus (Papachristos and Stamopoulos, 2002), S. oryzae and Bruchus rufimanus (Liu et al., 2006), Callosobruchus maculatus (Tripathi et al., 2009) and T. castaneum (Tripathi et al, 2009; Zapata and Smagghe, 2010). In all of mentioned studies, essential oils showed considerable repellent activity on insects.

Table 3. Repellent activity of essential oil from Lantana camara leaves against Callosobruchus maculatus at different exposure times.

+Values followed by the same letter, within the same column, are not significantly different according to Tukey's multiple-range test (p < 0.005). SE: Standard error.


The results of this study indicate a high content of sesquiterpenes mainly: α-humelene, cis-caryophyllene, germacrene-D, and bicyclogermacrene in L. camara essential oil. These components may be involved in the repellent and insecticide activities of L. camara oil against C. maculatus. However, it is difficult to positively correlate the insecticide effect of an essential oil to one or a few active compounds. This study demonstrated the potential of L. camara essential oil as repellent and insecticide. Since this species is a common ornamental plant in the South of Iran, it can be used for bean protection against the attack of infesting beetles like C. maculatus. The use of plant essential oils will have to be advised for their safety to the environment and consumers. Further research is necessary on the influence of essential oil residue on acceptability of stored products for users.


The authors wish to thank Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University for financial support (Grant N° 901.4).


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Received: 13 February 2012.
Accepted: 25 June 2012.

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