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Open AccessArticle

Insecticidal and Cholinesterase Activity of Dichloromethane Extracts of Tithonia diversifolia on Atta cephalotes Worker Ants (Formicidae: Myrmicinae)

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Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Exactas y Estadística, Facultad de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Santiago de Cali, Calle 5 No. 62-00. Cali 760033, Colombia
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Departamento de Química, Grupo de Investigación de Productos Naturales y Alimentos, Universidad del Valle, Avenida Pasoancho No. 100-00. Cali 760034, Colombia
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Departamento de Biología, Grupo de Ecología de Agroecosistemas y Hábitats Naturales (GEAHNA), Universidad del Valle, Avenida Pasoancho No. 100-00. Cali 760034, Colombia
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Laboratório de Entomologia e Fitopatologia (LEF-CCTA), Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Campos dos Goytacazes 28013, Brazil
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Laboratorio de Síntesis Orgánica y Actividad Biológica, Instituto de Química de los Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Talca, Talca 346000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(3), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11030180
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 4 March 2020 / Published: 11 March 2020
Leaf-cutter ants are agricultural and urban pests that defy chemical control methods. Laboratory and field studies have revealed repellent and insecticidal activity by the extracts of Tithonia diversifolia (Asteraceae), known as Mexican sunflower, as a promising alternative for the control of the leaf-cutter ant Atta cephalotes. This study evaluated the effects of different extracts (non-polar and polar) of T. diversifolia dry leaves on worker ants from laboratory colonies of A. cephalotes through ingestion and contact. In addition, the biological activity of the extracts as inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) was evaluated. A dichloromethane extract at 1000 ppm presented the highest insecticidal activity through ingestion, causing 70% and 90% worker ant mortality after five and seven days of treatment, respectively. The acetylcholinesterase inhibition values showed that the dichloromethane presented the best AChE concentration of inhibition (IC50) at 73.9 ± 11.06 μg/mL, compared to its fractions, which demonstrates that its activity is potentiated when the crude extract is used. Our results can be attributed to the existence of terpenes and sesquiterpene lactones, which are likely inhibitors of AChE, in T. diversifolia. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mexican sunflower; leaf-cutter ants; insecticidal activity; biological control; cholinesterase activity Mexican sunflower; leaf-cutter ants; insecticidal activity; biological control; cholinesterase activity
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Pantoja-Pulido, K.D.; Rodríguez, J.; Isaza-Martínez, J.H.; Gutiérrez-Cabrera, M.; Colmenares-Dulcey, A.J.; Montoya-Lerma, J. Insecticidal and Cholinesterase Activity of Dichloromethane Extracts of Tithonia diversifolia on Atta cephalotes Worker Ants (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Insects 2020, 11, 180.

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