The Toxicology and Biochemistry of Insecticides  book cover
2nd Edition

The Toxicology and Biochemistry of Insecticides

ISBN 9781482210606
Published November 24, 2014 by CRC Press
380 Pages 3 Color & 387 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Despite their potentially adverse effects on nontarget species and the environment, insecticides remain a necessity in crop protection as well as in the reduction of insect-borne diseases. The Toxicology and Biochemistry of Insecticides provides essential insecticide knowledge required for the effective management of insect pests.

Continuing as the sole book in more than two decades to address this multifaceted field, the Second Edition of this highly praised review on insecticide toxicology has been greatly expanded and updated to present the most current information on:

  • Systemic classification of insecticides
  • How insecticides function at the molecular level and newly discovered modes of action
  • Insecticide resistance, molecular mechanisms, fitness costs, reversion, and management of resistance
  • Various bioassay methods including the interpretation of probit analysis
  • Molecular mechanisms of insecticide selectivity
  • Major biochemical mechanisms involved in the transformation of insecticides
  • Fate of insecticides in the environment and the sublethal effects of insecticides on wildlife
  • Newly developed insecticides, including the addition of more microbial insecticides in keeping with current integrated pest management (IPM) approaches

Incorporating extensive reference lists for further reading, The Toxicology and Biochemistry of Insecticides, Second Edition is an ideal textbook for students of entomology, plant medicine, insecticide toxicology, and related agricultural disciplines. It is also a valuable resource for those involved in insecticide research, environmental toxicology, and crop protection.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition


Need for Pesticides and Their Pattern of Use


Need for Pesticides

Food Production

World Health Status

Pattern of Use

Pesticide Economics


Formulation of Pesticides


Types of Formulation


Wettable Powders

Emulsifiable Concentrates

Suspendable Concentrates or Flowables

Water-Soluble Powders



Water-Dispersible Granules

Ultralow-Volume Formulations


Controlled-Release Formulations


Nonpesticidal Ingredients of Formulations




Disposal of Pesticide Containers

Pesticide Application Equipment


Pesticide Laws and Regulations


Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

Registration of Pesticides

Classification of Pesticides and Certification of Applicators

Other Provisions of FIFRA

Pesticide Categories

Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act


Basis for Tolerance

Food Quality Protection Act

State Laws



Classification of Insecticides


Classification of Insecticides

Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Insecticides




Botanical Insecticides

Insect Growth Regulators



Microbial Insecticides


Inorganic Insecticides

Miscellaneous Insecticide Classes


Insect Repellents


Evaluation of Toxicity


Testing Procedures

Tests with Insects

Topical Application

Injection Method

Dipping Method

Contact Method (Residual Exposure Method)

Fumigation Method

Feeding Method

Tests with Higher Animals

Acute Toxicity Tests

Subacute Toxicity and Chronic Toxicity Tests

Probit Analysis

Source of Variability in Dose–Response Tests



Rearing Temperature

Food Supply

Population Density


Use of LDP Lines



Uptake of Insecticides


Penetration of Insecticides through the Insect Cuticle

Structure of Insect Cuticle

Movement of Insecticides through the Cuticle

Site of Entry

Factors Affecting Cuticular Penetration Rates

Metabolism of Insecticides in the Cuticle

Entry via the Mouth

Uptake via the Spiracles


Mode of Action of Insecticides


Insecticides Affecting Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels


Mode of Action of the DDT Group, Pyrethroids, Indoxacarb, Sabadilla, and Metaflumizone

Insecticides Affecting Ryanodine Receptors

Insecticides Inhibiting Acetylcholinesterase


Mode of Action of Organophosphorus and Carbamate Insecticides

Insecticides Interfering with Chloride Channels

GABA-Gated Chloride Channels

Glutamate-Gated Chloride Channels

Insecticides That Bind to Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors

Insecticides Affecting Octopamine Receptors

Insecticides Interfering with Respiration

Inhibitors of the Mitochondrial Electron Transport System

Inhibitors of Oxidative Phosphorylation

Insecticides Disrupting Insect Midgut Membranes

Bacillus thuringiensis

Bacillus sphaericus

Mode of Action of Baculovirus Insecticides

Insecticides Affecting Chitin Biosynthesis or Cuticle Sclerotization

Insecticides Acting as Juvenile Hormone Mimics

Insecticides Acting as Ecdysone Agonists or Blocking Molting Hormone Activity

Insecticides Causing Protein Degradation and Necrotic Cell Death

Insecticides Abrading or Disrupting Insect Cuticle

Insecticides Acting as Selective Feeding Blockers

Insecticides Causing Suffocation

Mode of Action of Acaricides

Acaricides Interfering with Respiration

Acaricides Interfering with Growth and Development

Acaricides Acting as Neurotoxins

Mode of Action of Insect Repellents


Principles of Pesticide Metabolism


Phase I Reactions




Phase II Reactions

Glucose Conjugation

Glucuronic Acid Conjugation

Sulfate Conjugation

Phosphate Conjugation

Amino Acid Conjugation

Glutathione Conjugation

Metabolic Systems in Plants

Metabolic Pathways of Selected Insecticides




Chlorinated Hydrocarbons











Microbial Insecticides


Nereistoxin Analogs




Phthalic Acid Diamides

Anthranilic Diamides

Tetronic Acids

Dichloropropenyl Ethers


Species Differences and Other Phenomena Associated with the Metabolism of Xenobiotics


Species Differences in Detoxification Enzyme Activity

Examples of Differences

Evolution of Species Differences in Detoxification

Effect of Age and Sex on Enzyme Activity

Specificity of Detoxification Enzymes

Selective Toxicity

Synergism and Antagonism

Enzyme Induction

Induction of Detoxification Enzymes

Enzyme Induction as Detoxification Mechanism

Insecticide Resistance


Insecticide Resistance


Genetics of Resistance


Gene Frequency

Dominance and Number of Genes

Reversion of Resistance

Mechanisms of Resistance

Behavioral Resistance

Physiological Resistance

Interaction Phenomena

Cross-Resistance and Multiple Resistance

Interaction of Resistance Factors

Fitness Costs of Insecticide Resistance

Rate of Development of Resistance

Frequency of R Alleles

Dominance of R Alleles

Generation Turnover

Population Mobility

Persistence of Pesticide Residues

Selection Pressure

Pattern of Resistance Development

Management of Resistance

Reducing Resistance Gene Frequency

Use of Insecticide Mixtures and Rotations

Use of Insecticide Synergists

Use of New Pesticides

Use of Resistant Predators and Parasites

Field Monitoring

Use of Transgenic Crops


Pesticides in the Environment


Persistence of Pesticides in Soil

Adsorptive Forces

Factors Influencing Persistence of Pesticides in Soil

Photodegradation of Pesticides




Isomerization (Intramolecular Rearrangement Process)

Pesticides and the Food Chain

Lipid Solubility of Pesticides

Metabolic Activity

Feeding Habits

Behavior and Ecological Niche

Sublethal Effects of Pesticides on Wildlife

Eggshell Thinning in Birds

Endocrine Disruption in Wildlife

Biomarkers as Indicators of Pesticide Pollution



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Simon J. Yu is professor emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. He holds a BS from National Taiwan University, Taipei, and an MS and Ph.D from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After completing postdoctoral studies at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA, and Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA, he served as assistant professor at Oregon State from 1974 to 1979. He moved to the University of Florida in 1980, and was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and professor in 1986. He retired from the university in 2006, but remains an emeritus faculty. His research has been supported by USDA, NSF, NIH, EPA, and various pesticide companies.


"Overall, this is a carefully crafted treatment of a difficult subject, and Simon Yu has successfully walked the fine line between too much and not enough detail. Importantly, he does an excellent job explaining why certain things are important to toxicologists, and what should be of interest to managers of insect pests. Also, he provides a holistic treatment that has something of interest for everyone, and it is presented in an easily comprehended manner. If you work with insecticides, and especially if you don’t, you need to read this book. There is a great deal of misinformation about pesticides in the world, but this book is a great source of enlightenment."
—John L. Capinera, University of Florida, in Florida Entomologist

Praise for the First Edition

"… applicable to a diversity of students from entomology, pest management and related agricultural disciplines. … provides an updated and comprehensive introductory textbook for students of insecticide toxicology that incorporates traditional toxicological concepts, including uptake, mode of action, and principles of xenobiotic metabolism with an up-to-date cataloging of both historically important insecticide classes and novel chemistries and their mode of action. This information provides a solid foundation for developing more complex issues, such as the role of xenobiotic metabolism as it relates to selective toxicity and resistance evolution. … presents material in an easy-to-read outline that is well organized. … illustrated with many line drawings and tables providing the reader with ample opportunity to interpret data that enhances understanding of a certain topic. … This text is a valuable basic reference for students of insecticide toxicology. … I have recommended the text for my own course and have received positive feedback from a diversity of students."
—Blair D. Siegfried, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, Florida Entomologist, March 2009

"This is a great book detailing everything you might wish to know about the entomological toxicology, biochemistry, and indeed the physiology, sensitivities and resistance to, mode of action, purpose and range, regulation, and environmental fate, of pesticides—and more besides. The division into 11 chapters is amply signposted in a set of more-than-adequate contents pages. If that should fail you in locating what you are looking for, then the index at the rear will see you right. … Each chapter flowed nicely into and introduced the next, and the book had a very reasonable style (even the bits on mono-oxygenases). I loved reading about spiracles and their significance (or not) in pesticide absorption. It covered topics in useful depth, but facts were easy to find and were not hidden beneath layers of waffle or arcane language. It would serve as an invaluable reference tool to toxicologists (and agronomists, biochemists, teachers, entomologists, students, and ecologists …) coming into contact with insecticides."
—Tom Holmes, Covance Laboratories Ltd., UK, BTS Newsletter, Summer 2009

"If you are interested in more general aspects of insecticides, the chapters on formulation and the mode of action of insecticides are good, and the section in chapter 5 on probits is one of the best written I have seen."
—TC Marrs, Edentox Associates, UK, BTS Newsletter, Winter 2008