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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 25;57(6):2282-7. doi: 10.1021/jf803738z.

Ovicidal and adulticidal activities of Origanum majorana essential oil constituents against insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid/malathion-resistant Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae).

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Naturobiotech Research Institute, Naturobiotech Co, Ltd, Suwon, Republic of Korea.


The toxicity of essential oil constituents from marjoram, Origanum majorana, to eggs and adult females of the susceptible KR-HL and dual malathion- and permethrin-resistant BR-HL strains of human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, was examined using contact + fumigant mortality bioassay. Results were compared with those following treatment with two pyrethroid pediculicides, d-phenothrin or pyrethrum. As judged by the lethal time to 50% mortality (LT(50)) values at the exposure rate of 0.25 mg/cm(2), 1,8-cineole (14.1 min) was the most toxic compound, followed by linalool (15.4 min) to KR-HL females. These compounds were faster acting than either d-phenothrin (24.1 min) or pyrethrum (33.4 min). Based on the lethal concentration causing 50% mortality (LC(50)) values, (-)-camphor (0.022 mg/cm(2)) was the most toxic compound, followed by linalool (0.035 mg/cm(2)), (-)-terpinen-4-ol (0.040 mg/cm(2)), alpha-terpineol (0.045 mg/cm(2)), and 1,8-cineole (0.068 mg/cm(2)) against KR-HL females. These monoterpenoids were less toxic than either d-phenothrin (LC(50), 0.0015 mg/cm(2)) or pyrethrum (0.0013 mg/cm(2)). However, the toxicities of these monoterpenoids were almost identical against females from either of the two strains, even though the BR-HL females exhibited high levels of resistance to d-phenothrin [resistance ratio (RR), 667] and pyrethrum (RR, 754). After a 24 h exposure to linalool, BR-HL egg hatch was inhibited 100 and 84% at 0.25 or 0.125 mg/cm(2), respectively, while (-)-terpinen-4-ol caused 94 and 69% inhibition of egg hatch at 0.25 and 0.125 mg/cm(2). alpha-Terpineol caused 88 and 76% inhibition of egg hatch at 0.5 and 0.25 mg/cm(2), respectively. Thus, certain monoterpenoids from O. majorana essential oil, particularly linalool, (-)-terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol, merit further study as potential pediculicides and ovicides for the control of insecticide-resistant P. h. capitis populations as fumigants with contact action.

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