How active ingredient localisation in plant tissues determines the targeted pest spectrum of different chemistries

Anke Buchholz, Stefan Trapp

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The efficacies of four commercial insecticides and of two research compounds were tested against aphids (Aphis craccivora and Myzus persicae), whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) and red-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) in intrinsic (oral administration), curative (direct contact spray) and translaminar (arthropods infested on untreated leaf underside) assays. With a new translaminar model, the transport across the leaf cuticle and tissues and the electrochemical distribution of test compounds in cellular compartments and apoplast were calculated.
The comparison of both information sets revealed that the intracellular localisation of active ingredients determines the performance of test compounds against different target pests because of different feeding behaviours: mites feed on mesophyll, and aphids and whiteflies mostly in the vascular system. Polar compounds have a slow adsorption into leaf cells and thus a favourable distribution into apoplast and xylem sap. Slightly lipophilic bases get trapped in vacuoles, which is a less suited place to control hemipteran pests but appropriate to control mites. Non-favourable cellular localisation led to a strong reduction in translaminar efficacy against phloem feeders.
Prediction and optimisation of intracellular localisation of pesticides add valuable new information for targeted bioavailability and can indicate directions for improved pesticide design. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPest Management Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)929–939
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Pesticide design
  • Intracellular localisation
  • Vacuole trapping
  • Translaminar
  • Aphide
  • Whitefly
  • Mites

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