Essential oils as green pesticides for postharvest disease management

A.C. Shukla
Essential oils are the volatile constituents of chemical compounds with multiple mode of action that enhances their activity due to the synergistic effects of the constituents. The majority of them serve as chemical messengers for 'postharvest disease management'. The volatility of EOs makes them suitable as fumigants, in protected environments, for protection of postharvest diseases of horticultural crops, but they also have demonstrated utility for management of 'pests and diseases' of field crops. Many EOs and their major active constituents, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, have shown contact toxicity to postharvest insect pests but their utility is broadened due to their sublethal behavioral effects as deterrents and repellents. These bioactivities result from synergistic effect among particular terpenes, and with the neurotransmitter-mediated toxic action of the terpenes. Many EOs and their active constituents have shown potential bioefficacy against the insect pests when tested in laboratory, but only few of them - those used extensively in 'flavor and fragrance industries' - have been used for developing pesticidal formulations. These include the essential oils from the family Asteraceae, Myrtaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Poaceae, etc.; and have begun to establish its market presence in some countries, as essential oil-based pesticides.
Shukla, A.C. (2018). Essential oils as green pesticides for postharvest disease management. Acta Hortic. 1210, 199-206
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1210.28
essential oil, bioactive constituents, postharvest pest, green pesticide

Acta Horticulturae