Miss Maria Archevald

Profile photograph of Maria Archevald
Undergraduate Student
General Laboratory Assistant I
Area of Expertise: 
Product Testing and Bioassay

Miss Ariel Blackman

Profile photograph of Ariel Blackman
Undergraduate Student
Insect and General Laboratory Assistant I
Area of Expertise: 
Insect Rearing and Bioassay

Botanicals to enhance effectiveness of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides; funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, Deployed War Fighter Protection Program

Since the beginning of the project in April 2012, our lab has screened a wide array of plant essential oils for baseline toxicity and in combination with various synthetic pyrethroids against Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, and Anopheles gambiae, the African malaria mosquito. To date, we have identified essential oil candidates that enhance the toxicity of various synthetic pyrethroids, and some that cause greater enhancement than the most commonly used commercial synergist in synthetic pyrethroid formulations, piperonyl butoxide (PBO). Future directions for Photograph of cone tests that are utilized in the Deployed War Fighter Protection project.this project include whether or not these essential oil candidates enhance different synthetic pyrethroids to different degrees, isolating components from the most promising oils which impart the ability to enhance synthetic pyrethroids, mode/mechanism of action studies to determine how these essential oils/components are causing this enhancement, and whether or not these essential oils/components can enhance the efficacy of synthetic pyrethroids against insecticide-resistant mosquito populations.

Bioassays for testing insecticides against arthropod pests

We perform various bioassay tests for various companies and agencies to quantify the ability of new insecticidal formulations to kill and repel a wide array of arthropod pest species. Some of the species we utilize in our testing includes, but is not limited too: house flies, cockroaches, ticks, bed bugs, mosquitoes, fleas, crickets, corn rootworms, corn borers, cutworms, aphids, and spider mites. The fees for service, as well as the types of testing to be performed, are negotiated via a contract basis.

Photograph of an insecticide being applied to a mosquito with a needlePhotograph of toxicity testing for a commercial product against crickets

Natural Terpenoid repellents with activity against mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, ticks, and bed bugs

It is well established that insects and plants have shared a long evolutionary history with one another. Due to this evolutionary “arms race,” plants have developed some truly fascinating ways to deter insects from feeding upon them, such as production of various terpenoid compounds that repel or kill insect pests. Our lab is interested in isolating plant-derived compounds that may act as natural repellents. We have demonstrated that many of these plant-derived compounds cause significant repellency against mosquitoes and various other arthropod pest species, some of which rival n,n-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), the commercial standard for repellency. It is our goal to continue isolation of novel repellent compounds from plants to potentially create stronger repellents and to gain insight into how these repellent compounds act on various insect olfactory receptors.

Photograph of clear glass tubes used for testing natural terpenoid repellencyPhotograph of irritancy and spatial repellency chambers used for testing natural terpenoid repellency

Some relevant publications:

Paluch, G.E. and J.R. Coats, Editors. 2011. Recent Developments in Invertebrate Repellents. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC. 186 pp.  DOI: 10.1021/bk-2011-1090     

Paluch, G.E., L.C. Bartholomay, and J.R. Coats.  2010. Mosquito repellents: a review of chemical structure diversity and olfaction. Pest Manag. Sci. 66: 925-935.

Peterson, Christopher J., and Coats, Joel R. 2011. Catnip essential oil and its nepetalactone isomers as repellents for mosquitoes, Chapter 4 in Recent Developments in Invertebrate Repellents, Paluch, Gretchen E. and Coats, Joel R., American Chemical Society Books, Washington, DC. pp 59-65.

Paluch, Gretchen E., Junwei Zhu, Lyric C. Bartholomay, and Joel R. Coats. 2009. Amyris and Siam-wood essential oils: Insect activity of sesquiterpenes, in Pesticides in Household, Structural and Residential Pest Management, C.J. Peterson, and D.M. Stout II, eds., ACS Books, Washington, DC. pp 5-18.

Schultz, G., C. Peterson, and J.R. Coats. 2006. Natural insect repellents: Activity against mosquitoes and cockroaches. Chapter 13 in Natural Products for Pest Management, A.M. Rimando & S.O. Duke, eds.  American Chemical Society, Washington D.C. pp. 168-181.

Dr. Joel R Coats

Profile photograph of Joel Coats
Principal Investigator
Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Entomology
Area of Expertise: 
Insecticide Toxicology
Environmental Toxicology

Mechanisms of action of natural insecticides and acaricides; expression of octopamine and tyramine receptors in mammalian cell lines

Octopamine and tyramine are essential biogenic amines that have been implicated in numerous physiological systems in arthropod species, such as reproduction, the nervous system, and  learning-and-memory, to name a few. We have successfully created two stably-transfected Chinese Hamster Ovary cell lines (CHO) with a functional octopamine receptor from Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach, and a functional tyramine receptor from Rhipicephalus microplus, the southern cattle tick. Our hope is to characterize plant-derived compounds that may function as agonists, antagonists, or modulators of these two arthropod receptors. This research may lead to the identification of plant-derived compounds that possess activity at these two receptors and may act as insecticidal compounds with a novel mode of action that has yet to be exploited in the field of insect toxicology.Photograph of Chinese Hamster ovary cells


Some relevant publications:

Gross, Aaron D., Michael J. Kimber, Tim A. Day, Paula Ribeiro, and Joel R. Coats. 2013. Quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) of monoterpenoids at an expressed American cockroach octopamine receptor, Chapter 7 in Pest Management with Natural Products, J.J. Beck, J.R. Coats, S.O. Duke and M.E. Koivunen, Editors, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C. 247 pp. DOI: 10.102/bk-2013-1141.ch007.

Tsao, R., S. Lee, P.J. Rice, C. Jensen, and J.R. Coats. 1995. Monoterpenoids and their synthetic derivatives as leads for new insect-control agents.  Chapter 28, in Synthesis and Chemistry of Agrochemicals - IV, D.R. Baker, J.G. Fenyes, and G.S. Basarab, eds., pp. 312-324.  American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Vurtice C Albright III

Profile photograph of Vurtice Albright
Graduate Student
Ph. D. Candidate
Graduate Assistant-Research
Area of Expertise: 
Environmental Toxicology