A Biomass Pyrolysis Oil as a Novel Insect Growth Regulator Mimic for a Variety of Stored Product Beetles: Article No. toac017

Alexander Bruce, A. Wilson, Sabita Ranabhat, Jaden Montgomery, Scott Nicholson, Kylee Harris, William Morrison III

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


As fumigants face increasing regulatory restrictions, resistance, and consumer pushback, it is vital to expand the integrated pest management (IPM) chemical toolkit for stored products. The production of biomass derived insecticides (e.g., bio-oil fraction) from byproducts of biofuel production may be a promising alternative source of chemistries for controlling stored product insects. These potential insecticidal bio-oils were fractionated based on boiling points (ranging from 115 to 230 degrees C in one series and 245-250 degrees C in another). Fractions were analyzed using GC-MS, and were found to be unique in composition. The lethality of these fractions was tested on Tribolium castaneum, Tribolium confusum, and Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.) (Coleoptera: Silvanidae). Fractions were tested at concentrations ranging from 5-260 mg/ml to screen for efficacy against adults for durations of 2-8 hr sprayed on concrete arenas. In addition, a separate assay evaluated adult emergence of larvae after 6 wk with supplemental food in arenas, while repellency was evaluated against four stored product insect species in a laminar wind tunnel. A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions life cycle assessment was also performed, which found the use of the bio-oil fraction could reduce GHG emissions associated with the insecticide supply chain by 25-61% relative to a fossil-fuel based insecticide or pyrethroid. While adults were largely unaffected, we found that larval emergence was significantly suppressed compared to controls by roughly half or more. We also determined that there was minimal repellency to most fractions by most species. We conclude that the use of bio-oil fractions is a climate-friendly choice that may support IPM programs.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)877-887
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-81648


  • bio-based insecticides
  • biofuel production
  • biopesticides
  • bioproducts
  • biorational insecticides
  • confused flour beetle
  • coproducts
  • integrated biorefining
  • integrated pest management
  • red flour beetle
  • stored products
  • thermochemical conversion


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