Evaluation of neem-based nanoformulations as alternative to control fall armyworm.
Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) based insecticides are efficient for the control of various pest species, but their low residual effect and the lack of standardized formulations are problems for field use. Nanoformulations of neem in colloidal suspension or powder, containing the polymers poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL), poly (β-hidroxibutirate) (PHB) or poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), in capsules or spheres, were developed in order to reduce biodegradation of the active neem compounds and improve their residual effect. Corn leaves treated with the nanoformulations were offered to first instar larvae of fall armyworm during 10 days, observing mortality and larval weight and comparing it to a commercial neem oil and negative controls. The residual effect of the four most efficient nanoformulations was evaluated at 1, 3 and 7 days after spraying (DAS). Feeding preference tests with dual-choice (treatment vs. control) were performed with corn leaf disks at 1, 3 and 7 after DAS, and a preference index was determined 24 hours after larvae feeding on the disks. Some nanoformulations caused mortality up to 3 DAS and sublethal effects up to 7 DAS, but none outperformed the residual effect of commercial neem oil. All treatments showed phagodeterrence at 1 DAS, but this was lost over time. The short duration of the nanoformulations' efficacy suggests that there was little or no release of neem by the nanoparticles, so more studies are needed to improve the release kinetics of the nanoformulated products.