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J Chem Ecol. 2004 Feb;30(2):323-33.

Toxic effects of lemon peel constituents on Ceratitis capitata.

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  • 1Esración Experimental Agroindustrial Obispo Colombres, Av. William Cross 3150, Las Talitas, Tucumán 4101, Argentina.


A series of experiments were conducted to evaluate the toxicity of lemon peel extracts incorporated into mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata diet. Extracts were obtained with different solvents: diethyl ether, ethyl acetate, and methanol. All three extracts were toxic to some extent; the diethyl ether extract was selected for further studies. Ether extracts of lemon peel were prepared weekly over a 2-month period, from fruits collected on the 1st d of the bioassay. Weekly GC-MS and UV analyses of the extracts demonstrated that the concentration of citral and coumarins decreased in the peel after harvest. We conducted a series of bioassays to evaluate the toxicity of the ether extract, and mixtures of this extract with citral, 5,7-dimethoxycoumarin. and linalool incorporated to C. capitata larvae's natural diet (lemon slices endocarp) at a concentration of 250 microg/g of diet. Significant larvicidal activity can be obtained from a fresh lemon peel extract; however, when the extract was obtained from stored lemons, toxicity decreased. Addition of small amounts of citral or 5,7-dimethoxycoumarin, and linalool to the stored lemon peel extract would bring back the toxicity to the rates of fresh lemons extracts. Finally, female adults of C. capitata fed on diets containing additional amounts of ether extract, 5,7-dimethoxycoumarin, and linalool, were exposed to different photoperiods to test for phototoxicity. The treatment was toxic and affected the oviposition capacity of females depending on photoperiod.

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