SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.24 issue1A serological and molecular survey of Babesia vogeli, Ehrlichia canis and Rickettsia spp. among dogs in the state of Maranhão, northeastern BrazilHypertension and its correlation with renal lesions in dogs with leishmaniosis author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



  • text new page (beta)
  • English (pdf)
  • Article in xml format
  • How to cite this article
  • SciELO Analytics
  • Curriculum ScienTI
  • Automatic translation


Related links


Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária

On-line version ISSN 1984-2961

Rev. Bras. Parasitol. Vet. vol.24 no.1 Jaboticabal Jan./Mar. 2015 

Original Article

Chemical composition and insecticidal activity of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil from Cuba and Brazil against housefly

Composição química e atividade inseticida do óleo essencial de Cymbopogon citratus de Brasil e Cuba contra mosca doméstica

Zeneida Teixeira Pinto1  2  * 

Félix Fernández Sánchez3 

Arith Ramos dos Santos4 

Ana Claudia Fernandes Amaral4 

José Luiz Pinto Ferreira4 

Julio César Escalona-Arranz5 

Margareth Maria de Carvalho Queiroz6 

1Laboratório de Educação em Ambiente e Saúde, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

2Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Veterinárias, Instituto de Veterinária, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro – UFRRJ, Itaguaí, RJ, Brasil

3Laboratorio de Aseguramiento de la Calidad, Moa, Holguín, Cuba

4Laboratório de Plantas Medicinais e Derivados, Farmanguinhos, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

5Departamento de Farmacia, Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

6Laboratório de Transmissores de Leishmanioses, Setor de Entomologia Médica e Forense, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil


Essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus collected from Brazil and Cuba was tested to a chemical characterization and then was tested on the post-embryonic development of Musca domestica. The chemical composition analysis by GC-MS of the oils from Brazil/Cuba allowed the identification of 13 and 12 major constituents respectively; nine of them common to both. In the both oils, the main components were the isomers geranial and neral, which together form the compound citral. This corresponds to a total of 97.92%/Brazil and 97.69%/Cuba of the compounds identified. The monoterpene myrcene, observed only in the sample of Cuba, presented a large relative abundance (6.52%). The essential oil of C. citratus (Brazil/Cuba) was dissolved in DMSO and tested at concentrations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100% and citral was prepared by mixing 16.8 mg with 960 µL DMSO. Both essential oils and monoterpene citral were applied topically to newly-hatched larvae (1µL/larva). The results showed a lethal concentration (LC50) of 4.25 and 3.24% for the Brazilian and Cuban essential oils, respectively. Mortalities of larval and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods were dose-dependent for the two both oils as for monoterpene citral, reaching 90%. Both essential oils and citral caused morphological changes in adult specimens.

Key words: Vector control; essential oil; house-fly; lemongrass; Cymbopogon citratus


O óleo essencial de Cymbopogon citratus, coletado no Brasil e em Cuba, foi caracterizado quimicamente e testado no desenvolvimento pós-embrionário de Musca domestica. A análise da composição química dos óleos essenciais (Brasil/Cuba), por Cromatografia Gasosa acoplada ao espectrômetro de massa (GC-EM), permitiu a identificação de 13 e 12 componentes principais, respectivamente; nove deles comuns aos dois. Em ambos os óleos, os principais componentes foram os isômeros geranial e neral, que, juntos, formam o composto citral. Esse corresponde a um total de 97,92%/Brasil e 97,69%/Cuba dos compostos identificados. O monoterpeno mirceno, observado na amostra cubana, apresentou grande abundância relativa (6,52%). O óleo de C. citratus (Brasil/Cuba) foi dissolvido em DMSO, obtendo–se as concentrações de 5, 10, 25, 75 e 100%; e o citral (16,8 mg) foi misturando com 960mL de DMSO. Tanto o óleo essencial como o monoterpeno citral foram aplicados topicamente nas neolarvas (1µL/larva). Os resultados mostraram uma concentração letal (CL50) de 4,25% e 3,24% para o óleo essencial brasileiro e cubano, respectivamente. As mortalidades do período larval e o de neo-larva a adulto foram dose-dependentes, tanto para os óleos como para o monoterpeno citral, podendo chegar a 90%. Ambos os óleos essenciais e citral causaram alterações morfológicas nos espécimes adultos.

Palavras-Chave: Controle de vetores; óleo essencial; mosca doméstica; lemongrass; Cymbopogon citratus


The use of chemical insecticides in pest control induces insect resistance, and impact the environment through water and soil contamination, becoming toxic to vertebrates (PRADO, 2003). Thereby, multiple worldwide efforts to use botanical products to control insect vectors and pests appeared in the latest years. Biopesticides offer an alternative to insect control in which the damage to the environment is minimized, reaching only target organisms, with a minimal residual activity against predators, parasites and pollinator insects (LIU et al., 2000), making its use appropriate in integrated pest management programs (ISMAN, 2006; KOUL et al., 2008).

Plants and their natural enemies (insects, bacteria or viruses) have undergone a co-evolution process in which a new plant resistance character that reduces enemy attack is developed. The essential oils are a type of metabolite with this function, characterized by complex mixtures of monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids as major metabolites. The number and quantities of compounds in the essential oil produced by a single plant can change with the environment characteristic, place of collection, plant age and other conditions, but in general, the major compounds remain as a significative chemical marker. Due to the volatile, odorous and lipophylic characteristics of the essential oils, they can be toxic to insects, induce behavioral modifications, provoke direct disruption of specific physiological routes related to neuroendocrine system and in their reproduction (PRATES & SANTOS, 2002; GARCIA & AZAMBUJA, 2004). In addition, essential oils have been shown to be relatively non-toxic to fish, birds and mammals and easily biodegrade in the environment (KUMAR et al., 2012), turning them into good biopesticides.

Diptera Muscoid presents a great medical-sanitary importance and is closely related to animals and human environment, acting as an important vector of pathogens, such as bacteria, protozoa cysts and oocysts, helminthes, fungi and viruses (VAZIRIANZADEH et. al., 2008; BARIN et al., 2010), besides being responsible for the production of myiasis in humans and animals (ZUMPT, 1985). The immature stages of some species of these flies develop in animal and plant decaying organic matter such as feces, garbage, corpses and carrion (GRABOVAC & PETRIĆ, 2003).

Some studies revealed satisfactory results from the use of several essential oils for insect management such as the cosmopolitan pest house fly, Musca domestica L. (PAVELA, 2008); malarian vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae Giles (McALLISTER & ADAMS, 2010); parasitic mites of the honeybees bee Varroa destructor (ANDERSON & TRUEMAN, 2000); Acari: Varroidae (GHASEMI et al., 2011); and the maize weevil adults, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulky (FAZOLIN et al., 2007).

The essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf (Poaceae), most known as "lemongrass", is commonly used by folk medicine in many countries. Native from India and Southeast Asia, it is distributed in numerous tropical countries, including Brazil (DUARTE & ZANETI, 2004; SOUSA et al., 2010). There are several popular uses for this plant, including treatment for stomach pains, diarrhea (TANGPU & YADAV, 2006), also having several pharmacological activities such as anti-amoebic and as antifungal (SHAH et al., 2011). Also it has been reported as potentially useful against insects (CAVALCANTI et al., 2004; KUMAR et al., 2013). Recently, some studies revealed that C. citratus essential oil and their main components (citral and 1.8 cineole), are important repellent and insecticide against housefly, but these studies are focused mainly in the instant effectiveness after application and not in long time effect. (KUMAR et al., 2011b, 2013; SINTHUSIRI & SOONWERA, 2013). As of today, no study considered the effect of the essential oil in all the stages of the fly's life cycle; that's why it became important to reveal the effect of those essential oils in the post-embryonic development of M. domestica.

This report describes the evaluation of the chemical composition and insecticidal activity of C. citratus essential oil collected in Brazil and Cuba and its major compound (Citral) on the post-embryonic development of M. domestica.

Materials and Methods

Plant collection and identification

The Brazilian lemongrass fresh leaves were collected at Laboratory of Cultivation and Biomass Production of Farmaguinhos/Fiocruz- Jacarepaguá campus, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (22º87'49”S, 43º24'53”W). A voucher specimen was deposited at Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden Herbarium (RB) under the number RB3273021. The Cuban specimen was collect in the district of Miraflores, municipality of Moa, Holguín, Cuba (20°38'21”N-75°01'44”W). The identification of the species and the quality parameters of vegetable drugs were secured by the Company of Agriculture municipality of Moa, the exclusive plant provider in this region of Cuba. A voucher specimen was deposited at BSC Herbarium under the number 16443.

Extraction and component characterization by Gas Chromatographic mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis

Fresh leaves of C. citratus were extracted by hydrodistillation using a "Clevenger type apparatus", as recommended by the Anvisa (2010). The chemical composition analysis of C. citratus oils (Brazil and Cuba) was done by High Resolution Gas Chromatography (HRGC) coupled to a mass spectrometer (MS). The gas chromatograph equipment model HP7590 (Agilent Technologies, USA), equipped with DB-5MS capillary column produced by the same company with dimensions 30 m × 0.32 m and 0.25 mm thick film, was used. The program temperature conditions consisted in a temperature program from 40 °C until 290 ºC, with an increment of 4 ºC/min. The injection volume of the sample was 1μL with a split ratio of 100:1, using helium as the carrier gas at a flow rate of 0.5 ml per minute. Both injector and detector temperature were maintained at 290 °C. The percentage composition was calculated using peak normalization method assuming equal detector response. The samples were then analyzed by a quadrupole mass spectrometer model HP5972 A with an electron impact ionization at 70 eV. The compounds separated were characterized from their mass spectral data using the National Institute of Standards and Technology mass spectrometry library (ADAMS, 2007) and according with their Kovact retention indexes.

House-fly colony

Specimens were collected on the campus of Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, and were reared and maintained in the Laboratório de Transmissores de Leishmanioses - Setor de Entomologia Médica e Forense of the same Institution following the methodology used in previous works according to Queiroz & Milward-de-Azevedo (1991). Flies were kept in cages at room temperature with water and sugar ad libitum. Decaying bovine ground beef was given for the maturation of the ovarioles and to stimulate oviposition. The second generation was reared following the same methodology and newly hatched larvae were used in the experiments.


Serial dilutions were performed from essential oils of C. citratus from Brazil and Cuba dissolved in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) (SIGMA - USA) to obtain six different test concentrations: 5% (25 µL/oil + 475 µL/DMSO); 10% (50 µL/oil + 450 µL/DMSO); 25% (125 µL/oil+ 375 µL/DMSO); 50% (250 µL/oil + 250 µL/DMSO); 75% (375 µL/oil + 125 µL/DMSO) and 100% (pure oil). Citral (purchased from Tedia® - Brasil) was prepared by mixing 16.8 mg with 960 µL DMSO.

Both essential oils (Brazil´s and Cuba´s) and citral were applied topically (1µL/larva) to newly hatched larva bodies of M. domestica using micropipettes. In all experimental groups each concentration was performed in quadruplicate using fifty newly-hatched larvae for each replicate. In addition, two control groups were performed (with/without DMSO). After treatment, the newly-hatched larvae were transferred and placed onto recipients with 50g of putrefied bovine meat (1g/larva), to guarantee enough food for maximum development. These recipients were placed into larger ones (500 mL) containing a substrate for pupation and then covered with a nylon cloth held down with rubber bands. Mature larvae (L3), that spontaneously abandoned the diet, were individually weighed in analytical balance and transferred to glass tubes containing vermiculite to one-fourth of their volume and sealed with cotton. The experiments were maintained in acclimatized chambers set at 27±1°C, 70±10% RH, 12:12 light/dark cycle. Daily observations were made until the emergence of the adults, with subsequent sex ratio calculation (nFemale/nFemale+nMale) (RODRIGUES, 2004) and morphologic deformities analysis. Viability and duration of each period (larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult) were analyzed. Another variable considered was the weight of mature larvae. Results were analyzed by One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (P <0,0001), and mean values were compared by the Tukey–Kramer test at significance level of 0.05 (ZAR, 1999). Values of LC50 and LC90 were computed with Microsoft Office Excel Program.

Results and Discussion

Chemical characterization of essential oil

Compounds identified in C. citratus essential oils from Brazil and Cuba are presented in Table 1. GC/MS analysis allowed the identification of 13 and 12 main chemical components for Brazilian and Cuban oils, respectively. In both of them, the major components were the isomers geranial with 53.2 and 51.14% and neral with 36.37 and 35.21% for Brazilian and Cuban samples, respectively. Besides that, other 8 compounds appear in common. The monoterpene myrcene (6.52%), observed in Cuban sample, was the only differentiating compound that it is present in high relative abundance.

Table 1 Chemical composition (%) of essential oils from fresh leaves of Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf natives from Brazil and Cuba.  

Constituents Percentage composition
Kovat´s R.I. ID
Brazil Cuba
6-methylhept-5-en-2-one 0.19 0.23 936 MS, RI
Camphene 0.29 - 953 MS, RI
Myrcene - 6.52 988 MS, RI
Limonene 0.99 - 1030 MS, RI
Linalool 0.42 0.69 1079 MS, RI
Citronellal - 0.16 1132 MS, RI
n – decanal 0.19 - 1214 MS, RI
Z – citral (Neral) 36.37 35.21 1231 MS, RI
Geraniol 2.66 2.23 1247 MS, RI
E – citral (geranial) 53.2 51.14 1258 MS, RI
2 – undecanone 0.22 0.35 1287 MS, RI
geranyl acetate 1.5 0.20 1359 MS, RI
(E) – caryophyllene 1.03 - 1414 MS, RI
2- tridecanone - 0.10 1486 MS, RI
γ – cadinene 0.27 0.27 1513 MS, RI
caryophyllene oxide
Total identified 97.92 97.69

Chemical studies of C. citratus in different habitats around the world identified citral as the major volatile constituent (SOLÓRZANO-SANTOS & MIRANDA-NOVALES, 2012). Twelve Brazilian samples submitted to GC/MS indicated the presence of 22 substances, being neral and geranial the major components with variations from 40.7 to 75.4% (BARBOSA et al., 2006). Pino & Rosado (2000) identified and quantified neral (38.2%) and geranial (49.5%) as the major components of C. citratus oil collected in Havana (Cuba) but low amount of myrcene (1.7%) when compared with our studies. Moreover, compounds such as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, linalool and 2-undecanone were found in the essential oils of the lemongrass collected in Brazil and Cuba (COSTA et al. 2005, 2013). Quantity and chemical composition range of essential oil plants of the same species in different regions may be caused by microclimatic factors, phytogeographic, genotype plants and geographical and agronomical conditions, especially soil. Nevertheless, as general rule the major components remain being the same ones, only varying their concentration levels (KUMAR et al., 2011a).


Post-embryonic development of M. dometica appeared to be drastically influenced by treatment with essential oils from Brazil and Cuba, with no difference between them. Larval period at concentrations of 5, 10, 25 and 100% showed a delay in development while 50 and 75% shortened the period duration. For larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods all the concentrations delayed the period time. (Table 2). The insecticidal activity of Mentha piperita Linnaeus and Lavandula angustifolia Mill essential oils were evaluated against house fly and induced a significant prolongation in larval and pupal periods (BOSLY, 2013). In contrast, the duration of the larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods of M. domestica with citral treatment were faster in the presence of this substance (3.18; 4.91; 7.91 days respectively), showing a significant difference (P <0,0001) when compared to the control groups (larval period: 5.29 and 6.50 days, pupal period: 5.27 and 5.37days, newly-hatched larvae to adults: 10.54 and 11.85days, with/without DMSO, respectively) (Table 2). This contradiction turns into a challenge to be clarified.

Table 2 Duration (days) of post-embrionic development of Musca domestica (Diptera:Muscidae), treated with different concentrations of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus from Brazil and Cuba and monoterpene citral, under laboratory conditions. 

Duration (days)
Treatments Larval stage Pupal stage Newly-hatched larvae to adult
(Mean ± SD)* (Mean ± SD)* (Mean ± SD)*
Brazil Cuba Brazil Cuba Brazil Cuba
Control 6.68±0.47a 6.68±0.47ª 5.23±0.42a 5.23±0.42ª 11.91±0.29a 11.91±0.29ª
DMSO 5.31±0.58b 5.31±0.58b 5.31±0.58b 5.31±0.58b 10.63±1.16b 10.63±1.16b
5% 7.17±0.37c.37.37c 7.14±0.35c 7.14±0.34b 7.12±0.32b 14.51±0.50c 14.42±0.49c
10% 7.20±0.40c 7.15±0.36c 7.11±0.31b 7.10±0.30b 14.49±0.50c 14.39±0.49c
25% 7.18±0.39c 7.17±0.38c 7.15±0.36b 7.13±0.34b 14.44±0.50c 14.43±0.49c
50% 5.18±0.39b 5.19±0.39b 7.14±0.34b 7.10±0.31b 12.55±0.50d 12.46±0.50d
75% 5.20±0.40b 5.23±0.42b 7.17±0.37b 7.23±0.42b 12.56±0.50d 12.50±0.50d
Control 6.50 ± 0.51a 5.37 ± 0.49a 11.85 ± 0.36a
DMSO 5.29 ± 0.47b 5.27 ± 0.45ab 10.54 ± 0.90b
Citral 3.18 ± 0.40c 4.91 ± 0.30b 7.91 ± 0.30c

*Values within a column followed by the same letter are not significantly differen at the 5% level according to Tukey's HSD.

Biological properties of essential oils can be the result of a synergy of all the major molecules or just the molecules present at higher concentrations. Generally, the main components reflect their biophysical and biological characteristics and the extent of its effects depends on the concentrations when tested alone or included in essential oils (BAKKALI et al., 2008). However, literature suggests that the minor compounds may contribute to an antagonistic effect on the activity of the essential oil (BOTELHO et al., 2007). According to Nascimento et al. (2007) it is also possible that the emulsifying agent affects the activity of metabolites, acting antagonistically or synergistically to active compounds. DMSO has low toxicity and facilitates the penetration of toxic substances to the body, causing serious risks to health. (STURION et al. 1999). According to Brayton (1986) and Richardson (1973), among the properties and physiological/pharmacological effects of DMSO include a rapid and strong penetration of the other substances through biological membranes, it easily penetrates the skin, in five minutes can be detected in the blood and after 20 minutes can be found in all organs of the body. Based on that the choice of DMSO as solvent decreases the chances of the effects observed in post-embryonic development of M. domestica are derived from external factors.

The insecticidal activity of C. citratus is assigned conventionally to citral, its major component. This isomeric mix has been used as a steaming agent against Culex pipiensquinquefasciatus Say, 1823 (Diptera: Culicidae) (YANG et al., 2005), due to, the antifeeding activity of neral and geranial (LEAL & UCHIDA, 1998).

Structural characteristics of terpenoids can influence their insecticidal properties (PAVELA, 2008), and based on the degree of saturation and the functional group type can dispose the penetration of the insect cuticle, helping in their degradation (RICE & COATS, 1994). Although the mechanism of action of essential oils and its constituents is unknown, the appearance of toxic signs is fast (KNAAK & FIUZA, 2010).

Any of these observations could explain the differences in development time and mortality of M. domestica treated with pure citral and citral found in the essential oil diluted in DMSO.

Sex ratio did not differ significantly in any of the treated groups when compared to control groups (Table 3). Larval weight from Brazil and Cuba showed significant difference (p <0.0001) when compared to control groups.

Table 3 Larval weight (mg) and sex ratio of Musca domestica (Diptera:Muscidae) treated with essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus from Brazil and Cuba and monoterpene citral, under laboratory conditions. 

Weight (mg)
Treatments (Mean ± SD)* IV Sex ratio
Brazil Cuba Brazil Cuba Brazil Cuba
Control 21.50±1.76ª 21.50±1.76ª 19.00 – 24.40 19.00-24.40 0.50 0.50
DMSO 21.59±1.39ª 21.59±1.39ª 15.00 – 24.20 15.00 – 24.20 0.51 0.51
5% 19.60±1.41b 19.50±1.32b 17.20 – 21.50 17.50 – 21.00 0.50 0.50
10% 17.53±1.23c 17.49±1.27c 15.80 – 20.60 15.60 – 20.60 0.51 0.51
25% 20.37±0.95d 20.36±0.93d 19.40 – 21.80 19.40 – 21.80 0.51 0.49
50% 27.01±2.18e 26.97±2.38e 21.90 – 33.00 24.80 – 33.00 0.54 0.53
75% 21.50±2.65f 21.35±2.69f 17.40 – 25.30 17.20 – 25.20 0.53 0.53
19.50 – 25.60
19.00 – 25.60
Control 21.18± 1.55a 19.00 – 24.00 0.54
DMSO 22.22 ± 1.30a 20.80 ± 24.20 0.56
Citral 25.65 ± 5.42b 16.50 – 31.70 0.49

*Values within a column followed by the same letter are not significantly differen at the 5% level according to Tukey's HSD. DMSO= dimetilsulfoxide.

Lightest larvae (17.53mg oil/Brazil and 17.49mg oil/Cuba) belong to concentration of 10% while the heaviest larvae (27.01mg oil/Brasil and 26.97mg oil/Cuba) belong to the concentration of 50%, when compared to control groups with DMSO (21.59mg) and without DMSO (21.50mg). Monoterpene citral significantly increased larval weight (25.65mg) when compared to control groups with DMSO (22.22mg) and without DMSO (21.18mg) (Table 3).

Necrophagous Diptera are more suitable to pupate even when the final weight is below the average estimated for other species (MENDONÇA et al., 2011). According to Lomonaco & Germanos (2001), the increasing in the development period may be due to delays in obtaining the necessary weight for pupating (ROPER et al., 1996), due to the difficulties in obtaining food. These data are similar to some of the results obtained in this experiment.

Mortality of M. domestica in larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods was affected in a dose-dependent manner for both oils. Mortality of newly-hatched larvae showed highly significant values for Brazil and Cuba, respectively: 5% (62.5 / 61.5); 10% (62.0 / 63.0); 25% (64.0 / 65.0); 50% (75.0 / 73.0); 75% (77.5 / 78.0) and 100% (87.5 / 87.0) (Figure 1, 2).

Figure 1 Mortality of larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods of Musca domestica after exposure to different concentrations of Cymbopogon citratus oil from Brazil, under laboratory conditions. 

Figure 2 Mortality of larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods of Musca domestica after exposure to different concentrations of Cymbopogon citratus oil from Cuba, under laboratory conditions. 

Monoterpene citral presented a slightly higher mortality at all development stages when compared to essential oil of C. citratus (Figures 1, 2 and 3). This can be explained by the fact that insecticidal activity of this essential oil has been attributed to its major monoterpene citral (YANG et al., 2005).

Figure 3 Mortality of larval, pupal and newly-hatched larvae to adult periods of Musca domestica after exposure to Citral, under laboratory conditions. 

Kumar et al. (2011b) testing several essential oils against M. domestica, also noted a high rate of mortality after 48h exposure. For C. citratus the authors found a mortality rate of 77%. An contact toxicity bioassay of C. citratus against M. domestica larvae and pupae showed lethal concentration (LC50) value of 0.41 µl/cm2 and a percentage inhibition rate (PIR) of 7% and 7.3%, respectively (KUMAR et al., 2013). Abdel Halim & Morsy (2006) also observed high mortalities in Muscidae after using essential oils of Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. (Cupressaceae) and Alpinia officinarum Hance (Zingiberaceae) against Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp, 1883) (Muscidae: Azeliinae).

C. citratus essential oil showed a LC50 of 4.25 and 3.24% and a LC90 of 84.25 and 83.24% for Brazil and Cuba, respectively. Different concentrations of citral presented a significant larval mortality, with LC90 of 0.19 and 0.09 µl/cm3 after 24 and 48h, respectively, and the other monoterpene 1,8-Cineole LC90 of 0.36 and 0.15 µl/cm3 for the same interval time (KUMAR et al., 2013). Khater et al. (2011) working with Egiptian essential oils showed a high effectiveness against Lucilia sericata (Meigen, 1826) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) with LC50 values of 0.57, 0.85, 2.74 and 6.77% for lettuce, chamomile, anise and rosemary, respectively, slowing larval growth at sublethal concentrations. Dipping assay using lemongrass demonstrated LC50 of 69ppm against Aedes aegypti (Linneaus, 1972) (Diptera:Culicidae) and C. quinquefasciatus larvae a LC50 of 144ppm. The essential oil of C. citratus showed to have a great larvicidal activity against A. aegypti and caused 100% mortality at a concentration of 100 ppm (CAVALCANTI et al., 2004).

The abnormality rate in adults from M. domestica showed a dose-dependency, with 100% of deformity at concentrations of 100%, both for Brazil and Cuba`s essential oils and for the citral (Table 4). Elkattan et al. (2011), using different substances observed a reduction in adult emergence rate, favoring the development of male. Longevity of both sexes was affected when compared to the control. All lethal doses of Pelargonium zonale (Linnaeus) L'Her (Geraniaceae), Cyperusrotundus Linnaeus (Cyperaceae), Acacia nilotica Linnaeus (Fabacea), Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. (Cupressaceae) and lethal doses LC50 and LC75 of Lantana camara Linnaeus (Verbenaceae) caused a significant reduction in the fecundity of adult females, in addition to morphological changes at all development stages. Pure extract of Francoeuriacrispa (Forssk., Cas.) (Asteraceae) extracted with hexane, ethyl ether and ethyl acetate caused deformities in adults of Chrysomyia albiceps (Wiedemann, 1819) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) Abdel-Shafy et al. (2009). Khater et al. (2011) also noted that essencial oil of Lactuca sativa Linnaeus (Asteraceae) led to a higher percentage of deformities in L. sericata at all development stages. These deformations are due to the fact that some substances extracted from plants can cause changes in the endocrine system by directly attacking the hormones production (CABRAL et al., 1999).

Table 4 Percentage (%) of morphological deformities from adults of Musca domestica treated with essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus from Brazil and Cuba and monoterpene citral, under laboratory conditions. 

Morphological deformities (%)
Treatments Brazil Cuba
Control 0.00 0.00
DMSO 0.00 0.00
5% 38.67 37.66
10% 55.26 56.76
25% 76.39 78.57
50% 81.13 80.65
75% 86.67 88.64
Control 0.00
DMSO 0.00
Citral 100.00

In conclusion, results from Brazilian and Cuban essential oils and its monoterpenoid citral showed significant alterations on post-embryonic development of M. domestica, demonstrating its potential insecticidal activity. The oils and citral can be used in further formulations for breeding control and to avoid reinfestations.


This work was supported by grants from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (IOC/FIOCRUZ).


Abdel Halim AS, Morsy TA. Efficacy of (fenugreek) on third stage larvae and adult fecundity of . Trigonella foenum-graecumMusca domesticaJ Egypt Soc Parasitol 2006; 36(1): 329-334. PMid:16605122. [ Links ]

Abdel-Shafy S, El-Khateeb RM, Soliman MMM, Abdel-Aziz MM. The efficacy of some wild medicinal plant extracts on the survival and development of third instar larvae of (Wied) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Chrysomyia albicepsTrop Anim Health Prod 2009; 41(8): 1741-1753. PMid:19455398 [ Links ]

Adams RP. Identification of essential oil components by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. 4th ed. Illinois: Allured Publishing Corporation; 2007. [ Links ]

Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – Anvisa. Farmacopeia Brasileira. 5a ed. Brasília; 2010. p. 189-204. [ Links ]

Anderson DL, Trueman JWH. (Acari: Varroidae) is more than one species. Varroa jacobsoniExp Appl Acarol 2000; 24(3): 165-189. PMid:11108385 [ Links ]

Bakkali F, Averbeck S, Averbeck D, Idaomar M. Biological effects of essential oils—a review. Food Chem Toxicol 2008; 46(2): 446-475. PMid:17996351 [ Links ]

Barbosa FF, Barbosa LCA, Melo EC, Botelho FM, Santos RHS. Influência da temperatura do ar de secagem sobre o teor e a composição química do óleo essencial de (Mill) N. E. Brown. Lippia albaQuim Nova 2006; 29(6): 1221-1225. [ Links ]

Barin A, Arabkhazaeli F, Rahbari S, Madani SA. The housefly, , as a possible mechanical vector of Newcastle disease virus in the laboratory and field. Musca domesticaMed Vet Entomol 2010; 24(1): 88-90. PMid:20377736 [ Links ]

Bosly AH. Evaluation of insecticidal activities of and Lavandula angustifolia L. (Diptera: Muscidae). Mentha piperita essential oils against house fly, Musca domesticaJ Entomol Nematol 2013; 5(4): 50-54. [ Links ]

Botelho MA, Nogueira NAP, Bastos GM, Fonseca SGC, Lemos TL, Matos FJA, et al. Antimicrobial activity of the essential oil from , carvacrol and thymol against oral pathogens. Lippia sidoidesBraz J Med Biol Res 2007; 40(3): 349-356. PMid:17334532 [ Links ]

Brayton CF. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO): a review. Cornell Vet 1986; 76(1): 61-90. PMid:3510103. [ Links ]

Cabral MMO, Kelecom A, Garcia ES. Effects of the lignan, pinoresinol on the moulting cycle of the bloodsucking bug Rhodnius prolixus, and of the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus.Fitoterapia 1999; 70(6): 561-567. [ Links ]

Cavalcanti ESB, Morais SM, Lima MAA, Santana EWP. Larvicidal activity of essential oils from Brazilian plants against L. Aedes aegyptiMem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2004; 99(5): 541-544. PMid:15543421 [ Links ]

Costa LCB, Corrêa RM, Cardoso JCW, Pinto JEBP, Bertolucci SKV, Ferri PH. Secagem e fragmentação da matéria seca no rendimento e composição do óleo essencial de capim – limão. Hortic Bras 2005; 23(4): 956-959. [ Links ]

Costa AV, Pinheiro PF, Rondelli VM, Queiroz VT, Tuler AC, Brito KB, et al. Cymbopogon citratus (Poaceae) essential oil on (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) and . Frankliniella schultzeiMyzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae)Biosci J 2013; 29(6): 1840-1847. [ Links ]

Duarte MR, Zaneti CC. Estudo farmacobotânico de folhas do capim-limão: (DC.) Stapf, Poaceae. Cymbopogon citratusVisão Acadêmica 2004; 5(2): 117-124. [ Links ]

Elkattan NAI, Ahmed KS, Elbermawy SM, Abdel-Gawad RM. Effect of some botanical materials on certain biological aspects of the house fly, Musca domestica L.Egypt J Hosp Med 2011; 42: 33-48. [ Links ]

Fazolin M, Estrela JLV, Catani V, Alécio MR, Lima SL. Atividade inseticida do óleo essencial de Tanaecium nocturnum (Barb. Rodr.) Bur. & K. Shum (Bignoneaceae) sobre Motsch. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Sitophilus zeamaisActa Amazon 2007; 37(4): 599-603. [ Links ]

Garcia ES, Azambuja P. Lignoids in insects: chemical probes for the study of ecdysis, excretion and - triatomine interactions. Trypanosoma cruziToxicon 2004; 44(4): 431-440. PMid:15302525 [ Links ]

Ghasemi V, Moharramipour S, Tahmasbi G. Biological activity of some plant essential oils against Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae), an ectoparasitic mite of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Exp Appl Acarol 2011; 55(2): 147-154. PMid:21484423 [ Links ]

Grabovac S, Petrić D. The fly fauna (Diptera: Cyclorrapha) on animal farms. Acta Entomol Serbica 2003; 8(1-2): 63-72. [ Links ]

Isman MB. Botanical insecticides, deterrents, and repellents in modern agriculture and an increasingly regulated world. Annu Rev Entomol 2006; 51(1): 45-66. PMid:16332203 [ Links ]

Khater HF, Hanafy A, Abdel-Mageed AD, Ramadan MY, El-Madawy RS. Control of the myiasis-producing fly, , with Egyptian essential oils. Lucilia sericataInt J Dermatol 2011; 50(2): 187-194. PMid:21244384 [ Links ]

Knaak N, Fiuza LM. Potencial dos óleos essenciais de plantas no controle de insetos e microrganismos. Neotrop Biol Conserv 2010; 5(2): 120-132. [ Links ]

Koul O, Walia S, Dhaliwal GS. Essential oils as green pesticides: potential and constraints. Biopestic Int 2008; 4(1): 63-84. [ Links ]

Kumar P, Mishra S, Malik A, Satya S. Insecticidal properties of species: a review. MenthaInd Crops Prod 2011a; 34(1): 802-817. [ Links ]

Kumar P, Mishra S, Malik A, Satya S. Repellent, larvicidal and pupicidal properties of essential oils and their formulations against the housefly, . Musca domesticaMed Vet Entomol 2011b; 25(3): 302-310. PMid:21338379 [ Links ]

Kumar P, Mishra S, Malik A, Satya S. Insecticidal evaluation of essential oils of L. (Myrtales: Myrtaceae) against housefly, L. (Diptera: Muscidae). Citrus sinensisMusca domesticaParasitol Res 2012; 110(5): 1929-1936. PMid:22127387 [ Links ]

Kumar P, Mishra S, Malik A, Satya S. Housefly (Musca domestica L.) control potential of Stapf. (Poales: Poaceae) essential oil and monoterpenes (citral and 1,8-cineole). Cymbopogon citratusParasitol Res 2013; 112(1): 69-76. PMid:22955501 [ Links ]

Leal WS, Uchida K. Application of GC-EAD to the determination of mosquito repellents derived from a plant, Cymbopogon citratus.J Asia Pac Entomol 1998; 1(2): 217-221. [ Links ]

Liu SQ, Shi JJ, Cao H, Jia FB, Liu XQ, Shi GL. Survey of pesticidal componentes in plant. In: Benjing . Entomology in China in 21 st Century. China: Science & Technique Press; 2000. p. 1098-1104. [ Links ]

Lomônaco C, Germanos E. Variações fenotípicas em L. (Diptera: Muscidae) em resposta à competição larval por alimento. Musca domesticaNeotrop Entomol 2001; 30(2): 223-231. [ Links ]

McAllister JC, Adams MF. Mode of action for natural products isolated from essential oils of two trees is different from available mosquito adulticides. J Med Entomol 2010; 47(6): 1123-1126. PMid:21175062 [ Links ]

Mendonça PM, Lima MG, Albuquerque LRM, Carvalho MG, Queiroz MMC. Effects of latex from “Amapazeiro” Parahancornia amapa (Apocynaceae) on blowfly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) post-embryonic development. Chrysomya megacephalaVet Parasitol 2011; 178(3-4): 379-382. PMid:21292402 [ Links ]

Nascimento PFC, Nascimento AC, Rodrigues CS, Antoniolli AR, Santos PO, Barbosa Junior AM, et al. Antimicrobial activity of the essentials oils: a multifactor approach of the methods. Rev Bras Farmacogn 2007; 17(1): 108-113. [ Links ]

Pavela R. Insecticidal properties of several essential oils on the house fly ( L.). Musca domesticaPhytother Res 2008; 22(2): 274-278. PMid:17886229 [ Links ]

Pino JA, Rosado A. Chemical composition of the essential oil of (DC.) Stapf. From Cuba. Cymbopogon citratusJ Essent Oil Res 2000; 12(3): 301-302. [ Links ]

Prado AP. Controle das principais espécies de moscas em áreas urbanas. Biológico 2003; 65(1-2): 95-97. [ Links ]

Prates HT, Santos JP. Óleos essenciais no controle de pragas de grãos armazenados. In: Lorini I, Miike LH, Scussel VM, editores. Armazenagem de grãos. Campinas: Instituto Bio Geneziz; 2002. p. 443-461. [ Links ]

Queiroz MMC, Milward-de-Azevedo EMV. Técnicas de criação e alguns aspectos da biologia de (Wiedemann) (Diptera, Calliphoridae), em condições de laboratório. Chrysomya albicepsRev Bras Zool 1991; 8(1-4): 75-84. [ Links ]

Rice PJ, Coats JR. Structural requirements for monoterpenoid activity against insects. In: Hedin PA. Bioregulators for crop protection and pest control. Washington: American Chemical Society; 1994. p. 92-108. [ Links ]

Richardson J. Topical use of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Spring; 1973; p. 223-225. [ Links ]

Rodrigues WC. Utilização da informática na entomologia. Info Insetos 2004; 1(2): 1-10. [ Links ]

Roper C, Pignatelli P, Partridge L. Evolutionary responses of Drosophila melanogaster life history to differences in larval density. J Evol Biol 1996; 9(5): 609-622. [ Links ]

Shah G, Shri R, Panchal V, Sharma N, Singh B, Mann AS. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass). J Adv Pharm Technol Res 2011; 2(1): 3-8. PMid:22171285 [ Links ]

Sinthusiri J, Soonwera M. Efficacy of herbal essential oils as insecticides against the housefly, Musca domestica L. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2013; 44(2): 188-196. [ Links ]

Solórzano-Santos F, Miranda-Novales MG. Essential oils from aromatic herbs as antimicrobial agents. Curr Opin Biotechnol 2012; 23(2): 136-141. PMid:21903378 [ Links ]

Sousa SM, Silva PS, Viccini LF. Cytogenotoxicity of Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf (lemon grass) aqueous extracts in vegetal test systems. An Acad Bras Cienc 2010; 82(2): 305-311. PMid:20563411 [ Links ]

Sturion DJ, Pinheiro ER, Pardo PE, Tanaka NM. Efeitos hepatotóxicos e nefrotóxicos do dimetil sulfóxido em aplicações tópicas em cães. UNOPAR Cient Ciênc Biol Saúde 1999; 1(1): 41-47. [ Links ]

Tangpu V, Yadav AK. Antidiarrhoead activity of and its main constituent, citral. Cymbopogon citratusPharmacologyonline 2006; 48: 290-298. [ Links ]

Vazirianzadeh B, Solary SS, Rahdar M, Hajhossien R, Mehdinejad M. Identification of bacteria which possible transmitted by (Diptera: Muscidae) in the region of Ahvaz, SW Iran. Musca domesticaJundishapur J Microbiol 2008; 1(1): 28-31. [ Links ]

Zar JH. Biostatistical analysis. 4th ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall; 1999. 663 p. [ Links ]

Zumpt F. Myiasis in man and animals in the old world. A textbook for phydicians, veterinarians and zoologists. London: Butterworths; 1985. 267 p. [ Links ]

Yang P, Ma Y, Zheng S. Adulticidal activity of five essential oils against Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus. J Pest Sci 2005; 30(2): 84-89. [ Links ]

Received: August 26, 2014; Accepted: November 17, 2014

*Corresponding author: Zeneida Teixeira Pinto, Av. Brasil, 4365, Pavilhão Lauro Travassos, Sala 22, Térreo, CEP 21040-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, e-mail:

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.