How are cucumber plantlets affected by our insect repellent prototypes?

When developing insect repellents for use in organic farming, it is important to understand not only how pests will react to the product, but also how the plant itself will react to the substance! Therefore, in the course of the activity “Essential oil distillation waste streams as a potential source of sustainable plant-based repellent products“, we are carrying out allelopathy tests using the product prototypes we have developed.

What is allelopathy? A biological phenomenon in which chemical compounds released by the metabolic processes of one organism inhibit the germination, growth, liveliness and reproduction of another organism. In the case of plants, these are most often various active compounds of plant origin (phytoncides), the presence of which adversely affects the life processes of other plants. A good example is capsaicin, an active compound found in various peppers of the genus Capsicum, which can both repel pests from the plant and reduce the vitality of plants growing in the immediate vicinity.

Therefore, if we want to take advantage of the potential pest repellent properties of a plant (in this case caraway (Carum carvi L.)), we must make sure that the plant itself (in this case cucumber Cucumis sativus L.) is not harmed by the use of the product.

The investigation of the topic in collaboration with colleagues from SIA “Field and Forest” has resulted in the scientific publication “Biochemical and Physiological Responses of Cucumis sativus L. to Application of Potential Bioinsecticides—Aqueous Carum carvi L. Seed Distillation By-Product Based Extracts”.

The article was published in the scientific journal “Agriculture” of the publisher MDPI.

The study showed that aqueous extracts of caraway extraction by-products do not have phytotoxic effects on cucumber seedlings, however, changes in the chemical profile of volatile organic compounds released by cucumbers were observed.

To explore the study and read more about the results, read the publication!

The research is a part of the project “Essential oil distillation waste streams as a potential source of sustainable plant-based repellent products” (No. Nr. It is developed as a part of the European Regional Development Fund programme measure “Support for applied research” and specific objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure”.