Chemical composition, antifungal and insecticidal activities of Hedychium essential oils.
The antimicrobial properties of essential oils have been documented, and their use as "biocides" is gaining popularity. The aims of this study were to analyze the chemical composition and assess the biological activities of Hedychium essential oils. Oils from 19 Hedychium species and cultivars were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques. The antifungal and insecticidal activities of these oils were tested against Colletotrichum acutatum, C. fragariae, and C. gloeosporioides, and three insects, the azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides), the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Hedychium oils were rich in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, especially 1,8-cineole (0.1%-42%), linalool (<0.1%-56%), α-pinene (3%-17%), β-pinene (4%-31%), and (E)-nerolidol (0.1%-20%). Hedychium oils had no antifungal effect on C. gloeosporioides, C. fragariae, and C. acutatum, but most Hedychium oils effectively killed azalea lace bugs. The oils also show promise as an adult mosquito repellent, but they would make rather poor larvicides or adulticides for mosquito control. Hedychium oils acted either as a fire ant repellent or attractant, depending on plant genotype and oil concentration.