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Amazon pepper to aid agchem control of citrus psyllids

A natural oil extracted from an Amazonian fruit, monkey pepper (Xylopia aromatica), is being tested for natural insecticide properties for the control of Asian citrus psyllids (Diaphorina citri), which cause citrus greening disease. The agricultural research corporation, the Embrapa, and the citrus growing defence fund, the Fundecitrus, are carrying out the research. The pepper is rich in diliapol, a substance that inhibits the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes. This interferes with the psyllids' metabolism, increasing their susceptibility to toxins, explains Embrapa researcher Murilo Fazolin. The researchers believe that the peppers would improve the efficacy of pesticides, allowing a 25% reduction in application rate. Testing in Europe, India and the US has already proven successful, the Embrapa adds.

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