The essential oil of Tarchonanthus camphoratus dry leaves growing in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa was obtained by hydrodistillation and evaluated for its repellent effect, contact and fumigation toxicity against both Sitophilus zeamais and Sarocladium oryzae. Chemical composition of the essential oil was analysed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The study revealed that the essential oil of T. camphoratus had no contact and fumigation toxicity against stored insect pests, S. zeamais and S. oryzae. The oil, however, showed good repellent activity of over 50% after 24 h for all the concentrations used on both S. zeamais and S. oryzae. A total of 27 compounds accounting for 73% of the total oil composition were identified of which sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, (59.18%), were the most dominant. These results suggest that the essential oil of T. camphoratus could be considered a potential control agent of stored grain pests as a repellent.
Key words: Essential oil, chemical composition, Tarchonanthus camphoratus, Sitophilus zeamais, Sitophilus oryzae, fumigation, repellency, toxicity.
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