ALGIERS, Algeria, May 27 (UPI) -- Algerian scientists say they've found oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to combat infestation by a common beetle found in stored cereals.
The researchers say not only does oregano oil work well in fighting infestations of the beetle Rhizoppertha dominica, but it has none of the associated side effects of synthetic insecticides on the environment.
Oregano, a member of the Lamiaceae family of plants, has been known to be a natural insecticide by apparently inhibiting egg laying and larval development. But the researchers said their study marks the first time oregano oil has been looked at as a viable alternative to synthetic insecticides.
Chahrazed Boutekedjiret and colleagues from Algeria's National Polytechnic School identified 18 components in oregano oil that combat pests and found the greater the concentration of the oil used, the more effective it was.
"It is feasible that, in the near future, these natural insecticides will replace synthetic insecticides and add considerably to more environmentally friendly insecticides on a large scale," said Boutekedjiret.
The findings are reported in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.