The phorbol ester fraction from jatropha curcas seed oil: Potential and limits for crop protection against insect pests

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Abstract

The physic nut shrub, Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae), has been considered as a "miracle tree", particularly as a source of alternate fuel. Various extracts of the plant have been reported to have insecticidal/acaricidal or molluscicidal/anthelminthic activities on vectors of medical or veterinary interest or on agricultural or non-agricultural pests. Among those extracts, the phorbol ester fraction from seed oil has been reported as a promising candidate for use as a plant-derived protectant of a variety of crops, from a range of pre-harvest and post-harvest insect pests. However, such extracts have not been widely used, despite the "boom" in the development of the crop in the tropics during recent years, and societal concerns about overuse of systemic chemical pesticides. There are many potential explanations to such a lack of use of Jatropha insecticidal extracts. On the one hand, the applicati on of extracts potentially harmful to human health on stored food grain, might not be relevant. The problem of decomposition of phorbol esters and other compounds toxic to crop pests in the field needing further evaluation before such extracts can be widely used, may also be a partial explanation. High variability of phorbol ester content and hence of insecticidal activity among physic nut cultivars/ecotypes may be another. Phytotoxicity to crops may be further limitation. Apparent obstacles to a wider application of such extracts are the costs and problems involved with registration and legal approval. On the other hand, more studies should be conducted on molluscicidal activity on slugs and land snails which are major pests of crops, particularly in conservation agriculture systems. Further evaluation of toxicity to natural enemies of insect pests and studies on other beneficial insects such as pollinators are also needed. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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Ratnadass, A., & Wink, M. (2012). The phorbol ester fraction from jatropha curcas seed oil: Potential and limits for crop protection against insect pests. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms131216157

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