Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Nanotechnology is a multifaceted and a promising strategy in agricultural pest management for the development of insecticides or insecticide carriers. Research has shown that nanoparticles increase stability and efficacy of entrapped chemical pesticides to prevent active ingredient degradation while improving chemical stability and solubility. The following work evaluated nanoparticles synthesized from biopolymers, materials that originate from renewable sources also have an increased biodegradability.
Work was conducted under laboratory, greenhouse, and field conditions to test the biopoloymers as possible insecticide and insecticide carriers. The primary biopolymer evaluated in the following studies was zein, although lignin and chitosan were also evaluated. Overall, this dissertation aimed to improve our understanding of zein nanoparticles as potential pest management tools.
Research first established the direct toxic effects of zein nanoparticles on lepidopteran defoliators. Results indicated toxicity to the first instars of both model soybean lepidopteran pests, Chrysodeixis includens (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). These results were followed up with a lifetable conducted on C. includens using zein nanoparticles as nanocarriers of methoxyfenozide, as to study the chronic effects at low lethal concentrations. Results indicated that empty zein nanoparticles had deleterious effects, while zein nanoparticles loaded with methoxyfenozide were more efficacious at harming the C. includens populations than the active ingredient.
Multiyear field studies were conducted to compare the efficacy of sprayed zein nanoparticles loaded with methoxyfenozide to a formulated product. Results indicated that loaded zein nanoparticles provide an equal level of control to the formulated product, while also xii providing greater residuals of insecticide. Trials also evaluated the agronomic effects of soybean plants using different biopolymer nanoparticles under field conditions. Our results suggested that zein and other biopolymer nanoparticles are not deleterious to soybean plants.



Committee Chair

Davis, Jeffrey A.



Included in

Entomology Commons