Plant Origin Insecticides |

Organic farming: Plant origin insecticides

Organic Farming: Plant origin Insecticides

Organic farming: Plant origin insecticides

After witnessing the shortcomings of green revolution, the world agriculture has realized the importance of organic farming and has began its transition phase towards organic agriculture

You may also like to read –

Green Revolution: Shortcomings

Organic farming: Concept and objectives

One of very important components of Organic farming is Plant protection. In organic plant protection chemicals are to be replaced by naturally made or natural origin pesticides

Given in this article, is the information of plant origin insecticides

What are plant origin insecticides?

The Insecticides extracted from extracted from seeds, flowers, leaves, stem and
roots, are termed as plant origin insecticides

They are also called as botanical insecticides or natural origin insecticides

Why plant origin insecticides are not very popular?

Although, the plant origin Insecticides unlike are safer to use but since they are expensive and lack residual toxicity, they are not very popular

Plant origin insecticides information

Neem (Azadirachta indica)

Neew is a Perennial tree distributed in tropical, subtropical, semi-arid and arid zones

Properties of neem

It posses medicinal, insecticidal, insect repellent, antifeedant, growth regulatory,
nematicidal and antifungal properties

Useful Chemicals present in Neemseed extract oil

Azadirachtin, salannin, nimbin, epinimbin, nimbidin that gives insecticidal, insect repellent, ovicidal, Antifeedant and growth regulator characters.

How neem disrupts moulting in insects?

Chemical present in neem is Azadiractitin which disrupts moulting by antagonizing the insect hormone ecdysone.

Oral LD50 dose of Azadiractitin

Azadiractitin Acute oral LD50 for rat is 5000mg/kg, Acute dermal for rabbit is

Procedure for Preparation of Neem Seed Kernel Extract (NSKE 5%)

Step 1 – Take 50 g of powdered neem
seed kernels soak it in one litre of water for 8 hours and stir the contents often.

Step 2 – Squeeze the soaked material repeatedly for better extraction of the azadirachtin in the aquous suspension

Step 3 – Filter the contents through muslin cloth and make the filtrate to one litre.

Step 4 – Add 1ml teepol or triton or sandovit or soap water (2%) and spray

Prepartion of Neem Cake Suspension

Step 1 – Soak one kilogram of neem cake in 5 liters of water for 2 days and filter It through
muslin cloth

Step 2 – Dissolve 200 g of soft soap in the filtrate and make upto 10 L of water
before spraying.

This controls tobacco cutworm, leaf miners of citrus, groundnut, tomato and beans etc.

Uses of Neem

Dried powder of neem leaves are used against stored grain insect pests.

Leaf extracts showed insecticidal property against,Plutella xylostella,Aproaerema
modicella; Spodoptera litura etc.

Desert locust Schistocerca gregaria avoids feeding onneem leaves.

Neem leaves are found as attractants to white grub Holotrichia adults.

Neem seed/ kernel extract showed insecticidal properties against a number of sucking pest.

Neem oil can be used against storage insect pests @ 1 to 2% and field insects @
(0.2 -0.4%, 1 to 2% 5% or 10% neem oil)

Neem products are safer to honey bees,
parasitoids, predators.

Trade names of Neem formulation

Some of the neem formulations are Margosan, Neemark, Neemrich, Achook, Bioneem, Neemazal, Neemax, Nimbicidine,Vepacide, Margocide ,
Neemgold etc

Commercial formulations of neem are available in 10000 ppm, 1500 ppm and
300 ppm the market.


Nicotine is found in the leaves of Nicotiana tabacum and N.rusticafrom 2% to 14%

Insecticide prepared form Nicotine

Nicotine sulphate has been mainly used as a contact insecticide with marked fumigant action in the control of sucking insects viz., aphids, thrips, psyllids, leafminers and jassids.

Nicotine Sulphate

Nicotine sulphate is more stable and less volatile.

It is a nerve poison being highly toxic when absorbed through the cuticle taken in through the tracheae or when ingested.

It affects the ganglian blocking conduction at higher levels.

Nicotine sulphate containing 40% alkaloid, is safer and is more convenient to use and the free alkaloid is liberated by the addition of soap lime or ammonium hydroxide to the spray solution.

Dust formulation of nicotine sulphate releases nicotine in the presence of moisture.

It is also used in aerosols.

Tobacco decoction

Tobacco decoction is useful for controlling aphids, Thrips etc. can

Preparation of tobacco decoction

It can be prepared by boiling 1kg of tobacco waste in 10 lts of water for 30 minutes or steep it in cold water for a day.

Then make it up to 30 litres and add about 90gm of soap

Addition of soap improves wetting, spreading and killing properties.

Nicotine does not leave any harmful residue on treated surface.

Dosage of nicotine

LD50 for rat oral is 50-60 mg/kg.


It is extracted from the roots of Derris plant which many contain 4 to 11% rotenone depending on the variety.

Rotenone is reported from 68 species of leguminous plants

Rotenone occurs in Derris roots (4-9%), Lonchocarpus (8-11%)

It is oxidized to non-insecticidal compound in the presence of light and air and hence
rotenone residues are difficult to find after 5 to 10 days in normal sunlight.

How rotenone kills insects?

Insects poisoned with rotenone show a steady decline in oxygen consumption followed by paralysis and deaths.

It is very specific being highly toxic to fishes and to most insect species but almost harmless to warm blooded animals except pigs

Dose of rotenone

LD50 to white rat is oral-130 to 1500

Commercial use

Dust or spray containing 0.5 to 1.0 per cent and 0.001 to 0.002 percentrotenone are used commercially.


Plumbagin is naturally occurring napthoquinone of plant origin from the roots of Plumbago europea L. (Plumbaginaceae)

It is named so in 1828 by Bulong d’ Astafort

Plumbagin is known for its medicinal, antifertility, antimicrobial, molluscicidal,
nematicidal and other pharmacological properties on diverse fauna.

The yield of plumbagin ranges between 0.5-3.000 percent on dry weight basis.

The elucidation of structure of plumbagin and its synthesis in 1936 led to detailed studies.

More recently, its IGR properties viz., inhibition of chitin synthetase and ecdysteroid titres have been demonstrated (Kubo et al., 1982)

The cold alcoholic extract (5%) of roots of P. zeylanica L was toxic to Euproctis fraterna larvae as contact spray.

Contact toxicity of 5% petroleum ether
extracts of P. zeylanica root against Spodoptera litura, Dystercus
koenigii, Dipaphis erysimi was also reported


It is extracted from dried flower heads of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium (Asteraceae).

Chemical ingredients

The actual chemical ingredients having insecticidal action are identified as five esters

They are Pyrethrin I, Pyrethrin II, cinerins-I and cinerin-II and Jasmoline, which are predominately found in achenes of flowers from 0.7 to 3 %.

The esters are derived from the, Two acids – Chrysanthemic acid and Pyrethric acid and

Three alcohols – Pyretholone, Cinerolone and Jasmolone

Active principles/Esters

Pyrethrin I = Pyrethrolone + Chrysanthemc acid

Pyrethrin II = Pyrethrolone + Pyrethric acid

Cinerin I = Cynerolone + Chrysanthemc acid

Cinerin II = Cynerolone + Pyrethric acid

Jasmolin II = Jasmolone + Pyrethric acid

Properties of pyrathroids

Highly unstable in light, moisture and air.

Have no residual effect

Paralyse by more contact

Gains entry through spiracle and cuticle

Act on central nervous system

Having rapid knock down effect

Practically no mammalian toxicity

Good insecticides against household and cattle pests

Pyrethrum Powder

Pyrethrum powder is prepared by grinding the flowers.

The powder mixed with a diluent such as talc or clay is known as pyrethrum dust.

It is prepared just before use Otherwise it gets deteriorated rapidly.

It is also used as emulsions, solutions, and

Pyrethrum is unstable to light, air moisture and alkali.

The residues deteriorate very rapidly after application.

How pyrethrins kill the insects?

Pyrethrins are powerful contact insecticides but appear to be poor stomach poisons.

A characteristic action of Pyrethroid is the rapid paralysis or ‘knock down’ effect and substantial recovery that follow it.

This recovery is due to rapid enzymatic detoxification in the insect

To bring about mortality equivalent to
knock down effect three times increase in dosage may be required

Compounds such as piperonyl butoxide, propyl isome and sulfoxide are known to
inhibit the detoxication enzyme and increase the toxicities of pyrethroids

These synergists are used at 10 parts to 100 part of pyrethroid.

Dosage of pyrethroids

LD50 for white rat oral-200 dermal for rat-1800


Pyrocon E 2/22 (1 part of pyrethrin + 10 parts of piperonyl butoxide) is used for the control of coconut red palm weevil.

In household sprays and as a repellent against external parasites of livestock pyrethrum is useful.

It is also mixed with grains in storage to protect from stored grain pests.

Its use alone or in combination with piperonyl butoxide as food packages has been permitted by the food and Drug
Administration in the U.S.A. and no other chemical has been approved.

Further readings and references

Handbook of Agriculture

IUPAC (2006). “Glossary of Terms Relating to Pesticides” (PDF)IUPAC. p. 2123. Retrieved January 28, 2014

Murray B. Isman “Botanical Insecticides, Deterrents, And Repellents In Modern Agriculture And An Increasingly Regulated World” Annual Review Of Entomology Volume 51, pp. 45-66








Author: agristudent

Team Agristudent is a young and dynamic team of Agriculture specialists who have acquired specialised knowledge in their respective subjects. Their mission is to create a unique online encyclopedia of agriculture, which can be useful to millions around the world as an online reference library

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