Eugenol and thymol derivatives as antifeedant agents against red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae) larvae.
Coconut palms in Malaysia are infested by a destructive invasive pest, RPW since 2007, and the pest's population is difficult to control. At present, RPW control management mainly relies on the use of monocrotophos, which is administered by the trunk injection method. However, this pesticide can negatively impact human health and the ecosystem. Plant EO that can be used as a bio-pesticide is highly recommended as an alternative to monocrotophos because of its target-specific and eco-friendly properties. The antifeedant activity of eight eugenol and thymol derivatives from clove and thyme EOs were tested against the fourth instar larvae of RPW through oral bioassay for 14 days. Relative growth rate (RGR), relative consumption rate (RCR), the efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI), and the feeding deterrent index (FDI) were compared and analyzed. All of the derivatives showed antifeedant activity, particularly the eugenol derivative, 4-allyl-2-methoxy-1-(4-trifluoromethyl-benzyloxy)-benzene (FDI = 54.14%) and the thymol derivative, 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-2-((4-nitrobenzyl) oxy) benzene (FDI = 53.88%). Both of them showed promising results on their ability to be the most effective antifeedant agents in each derivative group. There was no significant difference in the effectiveness of the eugenol-based and thymol-based derivatives, but the ether derivative group (FDI = 45.63%) had a significantly stronger effect than the ester derivative group (FDI = 39.71%). This study revealed that the compound in ether form is more effective than the compound in ester form as an antifeedant agent against RPW larvae, regardless of the plant EO that the compound is derived from.