JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS;
SEP 5 2021.
Web of Science Citations:
Nanoencapsulation of biopesticides is an important strategy to increase the efficiency of these compounds, reducing losses and adverse effects on non-target organisms. This study describes the preparation and characterisation of zein nanoparticles containing the botanical compounds limonene and carvacrol, responsive to proteolytic enzymes present in the insects guts. The spherical nanoparticles, prepared by the anti-solvent precipitation method, presented in the nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) a concentration of 4.7 x 1012 +/- 1.3 x 1011 particles.mL-1 and an average size of 125 +/- 2 nm. The formulations showed stability over time, in addition to not being phytotoxic to Phaseolus vulgaris plants. In vivo tests demonstrated that formulations of zein nanoparticles containing botanical compounds showed higher mortality to Spodoptera frugiperda larvae. In addition, the FTIC probe (fluorescein isothiocyanate) showed wide distribution in the larvae midgut, as well as being identified in the feces. The trypsin enzyme, as well as the enzymatic extract from insects midgut, was effective in the degradation of nanoparticles containing the mixture of botanical compounds, significantly reducing the concentration of nanoparticles and the changes in size distribution. The zein degradation was confirmed by the disappearance of the protein band in the electrophoresis gel, by the formation of the lower molecular weight fragments and also by the greater release of FTIC after enzymes incubation. In this context, the synthesis of responsive nanoparticles has great potential for application in pest management, increasing the selectivity and specificity of the system and contributing to a more sustainable agriculture. (AU)