Turmeric as a Natural Insecticide?

Cabbage loopers, i.e., the caterpillars of a certain variety of common butterfly, damage many types of crops throughout the world annually. According to a paper published in Scientific Reports, a turmeric-derived compound shows significant utility as a cost-effective plant-based insecticide for dealing with these abundant pests.



Curcuma longa has well-known insecticidal and repellent effects on insect pests, but its impact on Trichoplusia ni is unknown. In this study, the compound ar-turmerone, extracted and purified from C. longa rhizomes, was identified, and its insecticidal effects, along with turmeric powder, curcuminoid pigments and crude essential oil were evaluated against this important agricultural pest. The role of natural (sesamol and piperonal) and synthetic [piperonyl butoxide (PBO)] synergists under laboratory and greenhouse conditions were also evaluated. The concentration of ar-turmerone in C. longa rhizomes harvested was 0.32% (dwt). Turmeric powder and its derivatives caused 10–20% mortality in third instar T. ni at a very low dose (10 μg/larva). Addition of PBO increased toxicity of turmeric powder and its derivatives (90–97% mortality) in most binary combinations (5 μg of turmeric powder or its derivatives +5 μg of PBO), but neither piperonal nor sesamol were active as synergists. The compound ar-turmerone alone and the combination with PBO reduced larval weight on treated Brassica oleracea in the laboratory and in greenhouse experiments, compared with the negative control. The compound ar-turmerone could be used as a low-cost botanical insecticide for integrated management of cabbage looper in vegetable production.

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  1. I always appreciate statements that are backed up by research, and I admire that you reference reliable researches from reputable journals, it always makes the reader have stronger faith and interest on the truth behind material being provided. Just reading through the posts about turmeric just gets me thinking on all these benefits from turmeric and its potential.


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