This study investigated the fumigant toxicity of 4 Asteraceae plant essential oils and their constituents against the Japanese termite Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe. Fumigant toxicity varied with plant essential oils or constituents, exposure time, and concentration. Among the tested essential oils, those from Chamaemelum nobile exhibited the strongest fumigant toxicity, followed by those from Santolina chamaecyparissus, Ormenis multicaulis, and Eriocephalus punctulatus at 2 days after treatment. In all, 15, 24, 19, and 9 compounds were identified in the essential oils from C. nobile, E. punctulatus, O. multicaulis, and S. chamaecyparissus, respectively, by using gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, or open-column chromatography. The identified compounds were tested individually for their fumigant toxicity against Japanese termites. Among the test compounds, trans-pinocarveol, caryophyllene oxide, sabinene hydrate, and santolina alcohol showed strong fumigant toxicity against Japanese termites. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition activity of the identified compounds from C. nobile, E. punctulatus, O. multicaulis, and S. chamaecyparissus essential oils were tested to determine the mode of their action. The IC50 values of (+)-α-pinene, (-)-limonene, (-)-α-pinene, β-pinene, and β-phellandrene against Japanese termite AChE were 0.03, 0.13, 0.41, 0.42, and 0.67mg/mL, respectively. Further studies are warranted to determine the potential of these essential oils and their constituents as fumigants for termite control.
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