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Article

Preliminary Evaluation of a Granite Rock Dust Product for Pest Herbivore Management in Field Conditions

1
Chemistry Department, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
2
Biology Department, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(12), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120877
Received: 16 November 2020 / Revised: 9 December 2020 / Accepted: 9 December 2020 / Published: 11 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Substances against Insect Pests: Assets and Liabilities)
Rock dusts, including granite rock dust, are a rich source of silicon, one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. Silicon exerts repellent, insecticidal and anti-ovipositional activities against agricultural pests. When accumulated on plant tissue, it can also form a mechanical barrier that increases resistance to pest attack. In the present work, we examined the effect of granite dust in managing herbivores under field conditions, evaluating the repellent and insecticidal activity against pests in lily, cabbage, and squash plants. Rock dust provided significant protection against specialist lily leaf beetles but was not effective in reducing general herbivore damage to field-grown cabbage and squash plants. Interestingly, rock dust also improved squash plant yield, increasing fruit size 2.5-fold. Overall, these results suggest granite as a beneficial alternative to synthetic pesticides with potential to manage pest herbivores, and to boost plant health.
The effects of granite rock dust in dry and aqueous formulations were evaluated under field conditions for control of insect pests in different crop systems and ornamental plants. We tested efficacy of crop protection following foliar applications on lily, squash, and cabbage plants by evaluating subsequent pest damage, overall plant health, and quantity of crops produced over one season. Lily plants treated with dry and aqueous formulations of rock dust were subject to lower herbivore damage (>1% and 11% herbivory damage, respectively) when compared to the controls (30% herbivory damage). Treatment on cabbage was less effective to protect plants against herbivory damage, and no statistically significant differences were reported within treatments. The foliar applications (dry and aqueous formulations) had positive impacts on growth of squash fruit resulting in a 2.5-fold increase in size relative to the control squash fruit. These results support the potential field application of granite dust to protect ornamental plants against herbivory attack, and reveal an alternative positive effect of the silica-based product on plant growth and development. View Full-Text
Keywords: granite dust; repellent; silica-based product; ornamental plants; mineral formulation; herbivory granite dust; repellent; silica-based product; ornamental plants; mineral formulation; herbivory
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MDPI and ACS Style

Faraone, N.; Hillier, N.K. Preliminary Evaluation of a Granite Rock Dust Product for Pest Herbivore Management in Field Conditions. Insects 2020, 11, 877. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120877

AMA Style

Faraone N, Hillier NK. Preliminary Evaluation of a Granite Rock Dust Product for Pest Herbivore Management in Field Conditions. Insects. 2020; 11(12):877. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120877

Chicago/Turabian Style

Faraone, Nicoletta; Hillier, N. K. 2020. "Preliminary Evaluation of a Granite Rock Dust Product for Pest Herbivore Management in Field Conditions" Insects 11, no. 12: 877. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120877

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