Atmospheric pressure plasma discharge (APPD) has been applied to a number of industrial applications, including the bacterial sterilization of medical equipment of bacteria. APPD may also have applications in insect control. A positive correlation was found between exposure time to APPD and mortality of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande); tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds); Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Skuse); twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch; and German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.), with the level of mortality also increasing with time after treatment. Cockroaches exposed to APPD for 60, 90, 120, and 180 s lost on average 7.5 ± 0.8, 8.1 ± 0.6, 8.7 ± 0.4, and 10.1 ± 1.1 (±1 SEM) mg of water weight, respectively, which was an increase over that of the controls. The metabolic rate of cockroaches exposed to plasma for 180 s increased from 0.79 ± 0.03 to 1.07 ± 0.04 ml of oxygen consumed mg-cockroach−1 h−1 at standard temperature and pressure. The level of cuticular hydrocarbons identified by electron impact gas chromatography-mass spectrometry were not significantly affected by plasma exposure in the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), German cockroach, and citrus mealybug, Planococcus citri (Risso), except for a reduction in n-tritriacontane in the latter. However, changes in the behavior of cockroaches after plasma exposure, including the loss of photo-, vibro-, and thigmotropic responses, inability to right themselves, and hyperexcitatory symptoms, suggest that the site of action of APPD in insects is the nervous and/or neuromuscular system.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1