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Bioactivity-guided isolation of rosmarinic acid as a principle bioactive compound from the butanol extract of Isodon rugosus against pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum

By Saira Khan, Clauvis Nji Tizi Taning, Elias Bonneure, Sven Mangelinckx, Guy Smagghe, Raza Ahmad, Nighat Fatima, Muhammad Asif, Mohammad Maroof Shah

Posted 27 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/591271 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215048)

Aphids are agricultural pest insects that transmit viruses and cause feeding damage on a global scale. Current pest control involving the excessive use of synthetic insecticides over decades has led to multiple forms of aphid resistance to most classes of insecticides. In nature, plants produce secondary metabolites during their interaction with insects and these metabolites can act as toxicants, antifeedants, anti-oviposition agents and deterrents towards the insects. In a previous study, we demonstrated that the butanol fraction from a crude methanolic extract of an important plant species, Isodon rugosus showed strong insecticidal activity against the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. It was however not known as which compound was responsible for such activity. To further explore this finding, current study aimed to exploit a bioactivity-guided strategy to isolate and identify the active compound in the butanol fraction of I. rugosus. As such, reversed-phase flash chromatography, acidic extraction and different spectroscopic techniques were used to isolate and identify the new compound, rosmarinic acid as the bioactive compound in I. rugosus. Insecticidal activity of rosmarinic acid was carried out using standard protocols on A. pisum. The data was analyzed using qualitative and quantitative statistical approaches. Considering that a very low concentration of this compound (LC90 = 5.4 ppm) causes significant mortality in A. pisum within 24 h, rosmarinic acid could be exploited as a potent insecticide against this important pest insect. Furthermore, I. rugosus is already used for medicinal purposes and rosmarinic acid is known to reduce genotoxic effects induced by chemicals, hence it is expected to be safer compared to the current conventional pesticides. While this study highlights the potential of I. rugosus as a possible biopesticide source against A. pisum, it also provides the basis for further exploration and development of formulations for effective field application.

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