Assessment of toxicity and biochemical mechanisms underlying the insecticidal activity of chemically characterized Boswellia carterii essential oil against insect pest of legume seeds

Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2017 Jun:139:17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2017.04.004. Epub 2017 Apr 20.


The present study was undertaken to investigate the insecticidal activity of chemically characterized Boswellia carterii essential oil (EO) and its mode of action against the pulse beetle Callosobruchus chinensis and C. maculatus. GC-MS analysis depicted α-thujene (69.16%), α-Pinene (7.20) and α-Phellandrene (6.78%) as the major components of test EO. EO exhibited absolute toxicity at 0.10μl/ml air against both C. chinensis and C. maculatus following 24h exposure. EO caused a significant reduction in oviposition and further reproductive development at LC50 doses (0.050μl/ml to 0.066μl/ml in air). Compared to control, a significant elevation in ROS level accompanied with impairment in enzymatic (SOD and CAT) and non-enzymatic (GSH/GSSH) antioxidant defense system has been observed in EO exposed insect pest. However, EO has no significant effect on in vivo AChE activity. An absolute protection of Vigna radiata seeds samples exposed to EO at LC90 doses was observed without affecting seed germination. The findings revealed that the B. carterii EO has strong insecticidal potential, hence, it could be recommended as a biorational alternative to synthetic insecticides.

Keywords: Biochemical mechanism; Boswellia carterii; Essential oil; Fumigant toxicity; Insect pest.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Coleoptera / drug effects*
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Fabaceae / drug effects*
  • Fabaceae / physiology
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Germination / drug effects
  • Insecticides / adverse effects
  • Insecticides / chemistry
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Monoterpenes / adverse effects
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Oviposition / drug effects
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Seeds / drug effects*
  • Seeds / physiology


  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Insecticides
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • alpha-thujene
  • alpha phellandrene
  • alpha-pinene