Juvenile hormonal activity of mono- and polyenehomobenzenes in Drosophila virilis, Spodoptera frugiperda and Araschnia levana.
A series of mono- and polyenehomobenzenes was synthesised by a highly regioselective palladium-catalysed allylic alkylation of substituted and unsubstituted benzylic Grignard reagents employing catalytic amounts of catalyst and tested for juvenile hormone activity on the fruit fly Drosophila virilis Sturtevant (Diptera: Drosophilidae), on an important agricultural pest species, the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda JE Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and on the map butterfly Araschnia levana L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). In D. virilis only polyenehomobenzenes with a geranyl chain and a methyl, methoxy or isopropyl group at the para position of the aromatic ring displayed significant juvenile hormonal activity at low doses. A monoenehomobenzene and polyenehomobenzenes with longer allylic chains or without a substituted aromatic ring were not active. In S. frugiperda and in A. levana, a mono-, a di- and a tetraene displayed juvenile hormonal activity. In the lepidopteran species, a trend for the necessity of a substitution at position 4 of the phenyl group for high juvenile hormonal activity was also found.