Using Azadirachtin to Transform Spodoptera frugiperda from Pest to Natural Enemy

Toxins (Basel). 2021 Aug 3;13(8):541. doi: 10.3390/toxins13080541.


Spodoptera frugiperda and Rhopalosiphum maidis, as main pests, seriously harm the safety of maize. At present, chemical pesticides are mainly used to control these pests. However, due to residue and resistance problems, more green, environmentally benign, simple preventive control technology is needed. In this study, we reported the reason for the antifeedant activity of azadirachtin on S. frugiperda and proposed that S. frugiperda treated with azadirachtin would turn from pest into natural enemy. S. frugiperda showed an obvious antifeeding phenomenon to maize leaf treated with various azadirachtin concentrations (0.5~20 mg/L). It was found that maize leaf treated with 1 mg/L of azadirachtin has a stimulating effect on the antenna and sensillum basiconicum of S. frugiperda, and azadirachtin can affect the feeding behavior of S. frugiperda. Additionally, after treating maize leaves or maize leaves + R. maidis with 1 mg/L of azadirachtin, the predatory behavior of S. frugiperda changed from a preference for eating maize leaves to R. maidis. Moreover, the molting of R. maidis can promote the change of this predatory behavior. Our results, for the first time, propose that the combined control technology of azadirachtin insecticide and biological control could turn S. frugiperda from pest into natural enemy, which can effectively eliminate R. maidis and protect maize. This combined control technology provides a new way for pest management and has good ecological, environmental, and economic benefits.

Keywords: Rhopalosiphum maidis; Spodoptera frugiperda; azadirachtin; maize; natural enemy; pest control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't