Control of leaf-cutting ants through biomonitored phytochemical study of Picramnia glazioviana and Picramnia bahiensis - Search of insecticides and fungicides substances and development of nanoencapsulation processes.
Environmental problems such as soil degradation, loss of wildlife, elimination of pollinating insects, animal contamination and pollution of water sources are directly related to inadequate agricultural practices with the intensive and indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides. The use of synthetic pesticides was and still is the main tool in the control of insect pests and they present contamination to the environment. Among these pests, leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex are considered the most important pests in agriculture, grassland and reforestation programs due the great amount of leaves cut which the plants are submitted. The factors such as abundance of natural resources as a source of food, scarcity of natural enemies and competitions among other species, promote the attack and, consequently, crop damage, causing serious economic losses. The factors such as natural resources abundance as food source, scantiness of natural enemies and competitions among others species, promote the attack and, consequently, damages to the plantation, generating serious economic damages. In this context, the Chemistry of Natural Products corroborates to this problem with regard to the development of products for the controlling of leaf-cutting ants with characteristics of broad spectrum of biological activities and low environmental impact. The current use of biopesticides secondary metabolites is allied to the study of Chemical Ecology and Integrated Pest Management. Thus, one of the goals of this project is the biomonitorated phytochemical study of P. glazioviana and P. bahiensis, being the first never studied under the chemical point of view, further to dealing with a genre that have published reports of insecticidal and fungicide activities of its chemical constituents. This project also proposes the assay with the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, an enzyme found in the central nervous system of insects. The development of a methodology for the application of bioactive compounds by the process of nanoencapsulation with insecticidal activity and attractive against to the leaf-cutting ants, in order to prevent the rejection of the material and to promote greater stability against volatilization and degradation in the environment is also the main part of this innovative and this project. Therefore, this project aims to show that knowledge of Natural Products Chemistry allied to Integrated Pest Management and Biorrational Insect Pests Control, may enable the development of effective methods of control to the leaf-cutting ants and, also, to provide an innovative alternative and recent to implement them through the nanoencapsulation methodology.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: