2nd Edition

The Toxicology and Biochemistry of Insecticides

By Simon J. Yu Copyright 2015
    380 Pages 3 Color & 387 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    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.

    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




    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