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Assessment of acute toxicity tests and rhizotron experiments to characterize lethal and sublethal control of soil-based pests

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JournalPest management science
DateSubmitted - 17 Feb 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2018
DatePublished (current) - Nov 2018
Issue number11
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)2450-2459
Early online date24/03/18
Original languageEnglish


BACKGROUND: Characterizing lethal and sublethal control of soil-based pests with plant protection products is particularly challenging due to the complex and dynamic interplay of the system components. Here, we present two types of studies: acute toxcity experiments (homogenous exposure of individuals in soil) and rhizotron experiments (heterogeneous exposure of individuals in soil) to investigate their ability to strengthen our understanding of mechanisms driving the effectivness of the plant protection product. Experiments were conducted using larvae of the western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera LeConte and three pesticide active ingredients: clothianidin (neonicotinoid), chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) and tefluthrin (pyrethroid). RESULTS: The order of compound concentrations needed to invoke a specific effect intensity (EC 50 values) within the acute toxicity tests was chlorpyrifos > tefluthrin > clothianidin. This order changed for the rhizotron experiments because application type, fate and transport of the compounds in the soil profile, and sublethal effects on larvae also influence their effectiveness in controlling larval feeding on corn roots. CONCLUSION: Beyond the pure measurement of efficacy through observing relative changes in plant injury to control plants, the tests generate mechanistic understanding for drivers of efficacy apart from acute toxicity. The experiments have the potential to enhance efficacy testing and product development, and might be useful tools for assessing resistance development in the future.

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    Research areas

  • chlorpyrifos, clothianidin, corn, efficacy, rootworm, tefluthrin

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