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Molecules. 2011 Aug 25;16(9):7320-30. doi: 10.3390/molecules16097320.

Toxicity of Rhododendron anthopogonoides essential oil and its constituent compounds towards Sitophilus zeamais.

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Department of Entomology, China Agricultural University, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China.


The screening of several Chinese medicinal plants for insecticidal principles showed that essential oil of Rhododendron anthopogonoides flowering aerial parts possessed significant toxicity against maize weevils, Sitophilus zeamais. A total of 37 components were identified in the essential oil and the main constituents of the essential oil were 4-phenyl-2-butanone (27.22%), nerolidol (8.08%), 1,4-cineole (7.85%), caryophyllene (7.63%) and γ-elemene (6.10%), followed by α-farnesene (4.40%) and spathulenol (4.19%). Repeated bioactivity-directed chromatographic separation on silica gel columns led us to isolate three compounds, namely 4-phenyl-2-butanone, 1,4-cineole, and nerolidol. 4-Phenyl-2-butanone shows pronounced contact toxicity against S. zeamais (LD₅₀ = 6.98 mg/adult) and was more toxic than either 1,4-cineole or nerolidol (LD₅₀ = 50.86 mg/adult and 29.30 mg/adult, respectively) against the maize weevils, while the crude essential oil had a LD₅₀ value of 11.67 mg/adult. 4-Phenyl-2-butanone and 1,4-cineole also possessed strong fumigant toxicity against the adults of S. zeamais (LC₅₀ = 3.80 mg/L and 21.43 mg/L) while the crude essential oil had a LC₅₀ value of 9.66 mg/L.

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