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Valorization of plant extracts by encapsulation in lipid nanosystems for application as potential insecticides
1, 2 , 3 , 1 , 1 , * 4
1  Centre of Chemistry (CQ/UM), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
2  Centre of Physics (CFUM), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
3  REQUIMTE/LAQV, Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, R. Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
4  Centre of Physics (CFUM), University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal


Plants have been used for centuries to treat diseases and are considered as an important source of new antimicrobial agents. Plant extracts can be isolated and their composition determined, being widely employed in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. A less explored and potential application is the use as green insecticides/insect repellents, as an alternative to current pesticides.

Despite the desirable properties, many of the isolated components (phytochemicals) present limitations on their use, due to high volatility and easy degradation when exposed to air. Nanoencapsulation techniques arise as promising strategies to allow the preservation and controlled release of plant extracts.

In this work, a series of plant materials, Tamus communis L., Tagetes patula L. and Rute graveolens L., were subjected to Soxhlet extraction using various solvents and times of extraction. The vegetable material used was dried according to standard procedures. The extracts obtained were characterized and submitted to biological studies, to assess their potential against the insect cell line Sf9. Encapsulation assays in lipid nanosystems were carried out, with encapsulation efficiencies ranging from 63% to 93%.

Keywords: plant extracts; nanoencapsulation; green insecticides