Chemical Composition and Insecticidal Activity of Myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) Essential Oil against Two Stored-Product Pests


Essential oil extracted from the leaves of Myrtle, Myrtus communis L. (Myrtaceae)was tested in vitro for volatile toxicity against two stored-product insects (Tribolium confusum and Callosobruchus maculatus). The chemical composition of the plant oil was examined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major oil components were α-pinene (10.4%), α- Terpineol (10.1%), linalool (9.0%), 1, 8-cineole (7.6%), Geranyl butyrate (6.3%), Geraniol (6.2%), Caryophyllene oxide (5.3%) and Neryl acetate (5.0%). In the fumigant toxicity test, significant differences in mortality of insects to essential oil vapor were observed in different concentrations after an exposure time of 24 hours. C. maculatus (LC50=9.5 µl/l air) was more susceptible to the plant oil than T. confusum (LC50=260.7 µl/l air). The results suggested that essential oil of M. communis L. could be used as a potential biocontrol agent for stored-product insects.


1. Rees DP. Coleoptera. In: Subramanyam Bh, Hagstrum DW (eds.). Integrated management of insects in stored products, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1995; 3-11.

2. Tanzubil PB. Control of some insect pests of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) with neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) in Northern Ghana. Trop Pest Manag. 1991;37:216-217.

3. Shaaya E, Kostyukovsky M. Essential oils: potency against stored product insects and mode of action. Stewart Postharvest Rev. 2006;2(4):(paper no. 5)./

4. Isman MB. Plant essential oils for pest and disease management. Crop Prot. 2000;19:603-608.

5. Pérez SG, Ramos-López MA, Zavala-Sánchez MA, Cárdenas-Ortega NC. Activity of essential oils as a biorational alternative to control coleopteran insects in stored grains. J Med Plants Res. 2010;4(25):2827-2835.

6. Koul O, Walia1 S, Dhaliwal GS. Essential Oils as Green Pesticides: Potential and Constraints. Biopestic Int. 2008;4:63-84.

7. Zargar A. Medicinal plants. 6th ed. Tehran University Press, Tehran, 1996.

8. Pourmand MR, Yazdi MH, Bayat M, Shahinjafari A. In vitro antimicrobial effects of Zataria multiflora Boiss, Myrtus communis L, Eucalyptus officinalis against Streptococcus pneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis and Haemophilus influenzae. Iranian J Med Arom Plants. 2008;23:477-483. (In Persian, English abstr.)

9. Curini M, Bianchi A, Epifano F, Bruni R, Torta L, Zambonelli A. Composition and invitro antifungal activity of essential oils of Erigeron canadensis and Myrtus communis from France. Chem Nat Comp. 2003;39:191-194.

10. Mohammadi R, Esfahani SHM, Shadzi S, Moattar F. Antifungal activity of Myrtus communis L. essential oil against clinical isolates of Aspergillus. J Isfahan Med Sci. 2008;26:105-111.

11. Traboulsi AF, Taoubi K, El-Haj S, Bessiere JM, Rammal S. Insecticidal properties of essential plant oils against the mosquito Culex pipiens molestus (Diptera: Culicidae). Pest Manag Sci. 2002;58:491-495.

12. Conti B, Canale A, Bertorli A, Gozzini F, Piselli L. Essential oil composition and larvicidal activity of six Mediterranean aromatic plants against the mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitol Res. 2010;107:1455-1461.

13. Amer A, Mehlhorn H. Larvicidal effects of various essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex larvae (Diptera, Culucidae). Parasitol Res. 2006;99:466-472.

14. Ayvaz A, Sagdic O, Karaborklu S, Ozturk I. Insecticidal activity of the essential oils from different plants against three stored-product insects. J Insect Sci. 2010;10(21):13pp. Available online:

15. Khani A, Asghari J. Insecticide activity of essential oils of Mentha longifolia, Pulicaria gnaphalodes and Achillea wilhelmsii against two stored product pests, the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum and the cowpea weevil, Callosobruchus maculatus. J Insect Sci. 2012;12:10pp. Available online:

16. Khani A, Basavand F, Rakhshani E. Chemical composition and insecticide activity of lemon verbena essential oil. J Crop Prot. 2012;1(4):313-320. Available online:

17. George, D. and Mallery, P. SPSS for Windows Step by Step: A Simple Guide and Reference,16.0 Update (9th Edition). Allyn & Bacon, London, 2008.

18. Ozek T, Demirci B, Baser KHC. Chemical composition of Turkish myrtle oil. J Essent Oil Res. 2000;12:541-544.

19. Rasooli I, Moosavi ML, Rezaee MB, Jaimand K. Susceptibility of microorganisms to Myrtus Communis L. essential oil and its chemical composition. J Agric Sci Technol. 2002;4:127-133.

20. Messaoud C, Zaouali Y, Ben Saleh A, Khoudja ML, Boussaid M. Myrtus communis in Tunisia: variability of the essential oil composition in natural population. Flavour Fragr J. 2005;20:577-582.

21. Tuberoso CIG, Barra A, Angioni A, Sarritzu E, Pirisi FM. Chemical composition of volatiles in Sardinian myrtle (M. communis L.) alcoholic extracts and essential oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54:1420-1426.

22. Aidi Wannes W, Mhamdi B, Sriti J, Ben Jemia M, Ouchikh O, Hamdaoui G, Elyes Kchouk M, Marzouk B. Antioxidant activities of the essential oils and methanol extracts from myrtle (Myrtus communis var. italica L.) leaf, stem and flower. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010;48:1362-1370.

23. Mahboubi M, Ghazian FB. In vitro synergistic efficacy of combination of amphotericin B with Myrtus communis essential oil against clinical isolates of Candida albicans, Phytomedicine. 2010;17:771-774.

24. Mirazadi Z, Pilehvar B, Meshkat Alsadat MH, Karamian R. Site quality and essential oil composition of Myrtus Communis L. (case study: Cham moord site in Lorestan province). J Agric Biotech. 2011;2:71-79. (In Persian, English abstr.)

25. Martins AJ, Valle D. The Pyrethroid Knockdown Resistance. In: Soloneski S, Larramendy M (eds.) Insecticides- Basic and Other Applications, InTech Publication. 2012;pp:17-38.

26. Motazedian N, Ravan S, Bandani AR. Toxicity and repellency effects of three essential oils against Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae). J Agr Sci Technol. 2012;14:275-284.

27. Tayoub G, Alnaser AA, Ghanem I. Fumigant activity of leaf essential oil from Myrtus communis L. against the Khapra Beetle. Int J Med Arom Plants. 2012;2:207-213.

28. Al Lawati HT, Azam KM, Deadman ML. Insecticidal and repellent properties of subtropical plant extracts against Pulse Beetle. Callosobruchus Chinensis. Agric Sci. 2002;7:37-45.

29. Bakkali  F, Averbeck S, Averbeck D, Idaomar M Biological effects of essential oils- A Review. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2008;46:446-475.

30. Koul O, Singh G, Singh R, Singh J. Mortality and reproductive performance of Tribolium castaneum exposed to anethole vapours at high temperature. Biopestic Int. 2007;3:126-137.

31. Yeom HJ, Kang JS, Kim GH, Park IK. Insecticidal and acetylcholine esterase inhibition activity of Apiaceae plant essential oils and their constituents against adults of German Cockroach (Blattella germanica). J Agric Food Chem. 2012;DOI: 10.1021/jf302009w.

32. Obeng-Ofori D, Reichmuth CH. Bioactivity of eugenol, a major component of essential oil of Ocimum suvae (wild) against four species of stored product coleopteran. Int J Pest Manag. 1997;43:89-94.

33. Tripathi AK, Prajanpati V, Aggarwal KK, Kumar S. Toxicity, feeding deterrence, and effect of activity of 1,8-cineole from Artemisia annuaon progeny production of  Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). J Econ Entomol. 2001;94:979-983.

34. Gallardo A, Picollo MI, González-Audino P, Mougabure-Cueto G. Insecticidal activity of individual and mixed monoterpenoids of geranium essential oil against Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae). J Med Entomol. 2012;49:332-335.

35. Davoudi A, Shayesteh N, Shirdel D, Hosseinzadeh A. Effect of diethyl maleate on toxicity of linalool against two stored product insects in laboratory condition. Afr J Biotechnol, 2011;10:9918-9921.

36. Karr LL, Coats JR. Effects of four monoterpenoids on growth and reproduction of the German cockroach (Blattodea: Blattellidae). J Econ Entomol. 1992;85:424-429.

37. Lee S, Tsao R, Coats JR. Influence of dietary applied monoterpenoids and derivatives on survival and growth of the European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Pyrallidae). J Econ Enomol. 1999;92:56-67.

38. Bettarinia F, Borgonovia GE, Fiorania T, Gagliardia I, Capriolia V, Massardoa P, Ogochea J I J, Hassanalia A, Nyandata E, Chapya A. Antiparasitic compounds from East African plants: Isolation and biological activity of anonaine, matricarianol, canthin-6-one and caryophyllene oxide. Int J Trop Insect Sci. 1993;14:93-99.

39. Monzote L, Stamberg W, Staniek K, Gille L. Toxic effects of carvacrol, caryophyllene oxide, and ascaridole from essential oil of Chenopodium ambrosioides on mitochondria. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009;240:337-347.

40. Huang Y, Ho SH, Lee HC, Yap YL. Insecticidal properties of eugenol, isoeugenol and methyleugenol and their effects on nutrition of Sitophilus zeamais Motsch. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). J Stored Prod Res. 2002;38:403-412.