Essential oil components (EOCs) are molecules with interesting application in pest control, these have been evaluated against different insect pest from more than 100 years, but their practical use is rather limited. Thus, the enhancement of their bioavailability and manageability due to their dispersion in water can open new perspective for the preparation of formulations for the control of insect pest. In this work, we studied the encapsulation of different monoterpenes in a poloxamer shell in order to prepare aqueous formulations that can be used for the development of platforms used in pest control.
Micellar systems containing a 5 wt% of poloxamer 407 and 1.25 wt% of the different monoterpenes were prepared. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) experiments were carried out to characterize the dispersion of the EOCs in water. The pediculicidal activity of these micellar systems was tested on head lice using an ex vivo immersion test.
The poloxamers allowed the dispersion of EOCs in water due to their encapsulation inside the hydrophobic core of the copolymer micelles. From this study, we concluded that it is possible to make stable micellar systems containing water (>90 wt%), 1.25 wt% of different monoterpenes and a highly safe polymer (5wt% Poloxamer 407). These formulations were effective against head lice with mortality ranging from 30 to 60%, being the most effective emulsions those containing linalool, 1,8-cineole, α-terpineol, thymol, eugenol, geraniol and nonyl alcohol which lead to mortalities above 50%.
Since these systems showed good pediculicidal activity and high physicochemical stability, they could be a new route for the green fabrication of biocompatible and biosustainable insecticide formulations.