Nootkatone is a component of grapefruit oil that is toxic to the disease-vectoring tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, but unfortunately causes phytotoxicity to treated plants and has a short residual activity due to volatility. We prepared a lignin-encapsulated nootkatone formulation to compare with a previously used emulsifiable formulation for volatility, plant phytotoxicity, and toxicity to unfed nymphs of I. scapularis. Volatility of nootkatone was measured directly by trapping nootkatone vapor in a closed system and indirectly by measuring nootkatone residue on treated filter paper after exposure to simulated sunlight (Xenon). After 24 h in the closed system, traps collected only 15% of the nootkatone applied as the encapsulated formulation compared with 40% applied as the emulsifiable formulation. After a 1-h light exposure, the encapsulated formulation retained 92% of the nootkatone concentration compared with only 26% retained by the emulsifiable formulation. For plant phytotoxicity, cabbage, Brassica oleracea L., leaves treated with the encapsulated formulation expressed less necrosis, retaining greater leaf weight compared with leaves treated with the emusifiable formulation. The nootkatone in the emulsifiable formulation was absorbed by cabbage and oat, Avena sativa L., plants (41 and 60% recovered 2 h after application, respectively), as opposed to 100% recovery from the plants treated with encapsulated nootkatone. Using a treated vial technique, encapsulated nootkatone was significantly more toxic to I. scapularis nymphs (LC50 = 20 ng/cm2) compared with toxicity of the emulsifiable formulation (LC50 = 35 ng/cm2). Thus, the encapsulation of nootkatone improved toxicity for tick control, reduced nootkatone volatility, and reduced plant phytotoxicity.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6