Novel biopesticides based on nanoencapsulation of azadirachtin with whey protein to control fall armyworm.
Biopesticides have become a global trend in order to minimize the hazards derived from synthetic chemical pesticides and improve the safety, efficacy, and environmental friendliness of agricultural pest management. Herein, we report a novel biopesticide composite encapsulating azadirachtin with the size of 260.9 ± 6.8 nm and its effects on the insect pest Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm). The nanocomposite biopesticide was produced via nano emulsification and freeze-drying process using whey protein isolate as a nanocarrier matrix to encapsulate azadirachtin, a natural insect-killing compound obtained from neem seed. We found that the nanocomposite biopesticide acted quicker and with greater efficacy than bulk azadirachtin treatment with corresponding LC50 values within 11 days of S. frugiperda larvae survival. Through confocal microscopy, we found the enhanced biodistribution of the nanocomposite to all parts of the insect body. Photodegradation assays revealed an enhanced UV stability facilitated by light-scattering stemming from the intrinsic nanostructure and UV scavenging vitamin-E component.