Plant essential oils in general have been recognized as an important natural source of pesticides. They represent a market estimated at US $ 700.00 millions and a total world production of 45000 tons. The genera capable of elaborating the compounds that constitute essential oils are distributed in a limited number of families but the widespread range of activities of essential oils is being considered for both industrial and household uses. Essential oil compounds and their derivatives are considered to be an alternative means of controlling many harmful insects and their rapid degradation in the environment have increased specificity that favours beneficial insects. Essential oils based commercial products are being developed for a wide range of human and animal uses, including pest control. Unfortunately, most of the natural products used for pest control, are not always subject to rigorous testing. In view of the above points, the present paper focuses on the work done in the field of essential oils as biopesticides with special emphasis on essential oil chemistry, extraction, pesticidal properties, mode of action, synergism, phytotoxicity, commercialization prospects, safety aspects, socioeconomic impacts and sustainability.
Key words: Essential oil, insecticide, repellent, phytotoxicity, safety, economics.
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