Nanocrystalline cellulose: possible applications in apple pest management


Abstract: Laboratory and field studies were conducted between 2011 and 2014 to assess the potential use of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) as a natural, non-toxic and resistant material to improve the pest control properties of some natural, physical and chemical pesticides in Québec (Canada) apple orchards. NCC is a material extracted from wood showing enhanced gaseous permeability, strength, optical and film-forming properties, with possible applications in aerospace, health and agriculture. In a laboratory study, four kaolin-based treatments (aqueous suspensions of kaolin at 1.2 and 2.4%, with or without 1% NCC) were compared to a water-only control to measure the effect of NCC on the efficacy of kaolin deposits against spider mites, Panonychus ulmi and Tetranychus urticae. Mortality rates of P. ulmi overwintering eggs and of T. urticae motile forms were significantly higher when NCC was added to kaolin either as a dip (P. ulmi) or spray (T. urticae). In a field study, repeated sprays of kaolin (Surround) on dwarf apple trees did not prevent significantly more damage from key fruit pests codling moth (Cydia pomonella), apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) and leafrollers complex (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) when 1% NCC was added to the recommended label rate.

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