Effects of citronella oil (Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt ex Bor) on Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) midgut and fat body.
The armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is the principal pest of corn in Brazil. Control is achieved primarily by synthetic insecticides, which cause problems for the agro-ecosystem. Alternative methods of control are under investigation and citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus) essential oil appears to be a promising agent. We investigated the effects of citronella oil using histological, histochemical and immunohistochemical methods. The midgut of larvae treated with citronella exhibited altered epithelium including cytoplasmic protrusions, columnar cell extrusion, pyknotic nuclei, and increased periodic acid-Schiff positive granules. Regenerative cells in the epithelium of the midgut increased in number, which facilitated subsequent regeneration of this tissue. After exposure to citronella, trophocytes, the principal cell type of the fat body, possessed enlarged vacuoles and mitotic bodies, and contained reduced amounts of glycogen, lipid, and protein. Citronella oil caused morphological changes of the midgut and reduction of stored resources in the fat body, which may adversely affect insect reproduction and survival.