Nano/microparticles in conjunction with microalgae extract as novel insecticides against Mealworm beetles, Tenebrio molitor
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The intensive use of insecticides in global agricultural production has attracted much attention due to its many adverse effects on human health and the environment. In recent years, the utilization of nanotechnology has emerged as a tool to overcome these adverse effects. The aim of this work was to test different microparticles (zinc oxide (ZnO MPs) and silicon dioxide microparticles (SiO2 MPs)), and silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) and to study their toxicity on a model organism, Tenebrio molitor. A comprehensive comparative study, which included more than a thousand mealworms divided into nine separate groups, was conducted. In addition to pure nano/microparticle solutions, the effect of particles mixed with the microalgae extract Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was also observed. Pure Ag NPs and SiO2 MPs resulted in larval mortality of more than 70% compared to that of pure ZnO MPs, in which the mortality rate was approximately 33%. A mixture of the algal extract with zinc oxide microparticles resulted in mortality that was double compared to that observed with pure ZnO MPs. In parallel, atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) was used to determine the difference in the concentration of trace elements in the bodies of dead and live larvae.