Reduction Chemistry of Natural Pyrethrins and Preliminary Insecticidal Activity of Reduced Pyrethrins

Todd E. Markham, Andrew C. Kotze, Peter J. Duggan, Martin R. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


The natural extract pyrethrum is an insecticidal oil derived from Tanacetum cinerariifolium that is commonly used in domestic and agricultural pesticides. The major constituents of the extract are the Pyrethrins, six esters that provide pyrethrum with its insecticidal properties. These Pyrethrins readily degrade through several environmental means and as such, there can be significant Pyrethrin losses during processing and long-term storage of pyrethrum-based insecticides. This work attempts to alleviate the effect of these degradative processes through the pursuit of stabilised Pyrethrins by chemically removing oxidatively sensitive functionality. Several reduced Pyrethrin analogues were produced and a method to convert the more sensitive Pyrethrins present in the pyrethrum concentrate into their respective more stable jasmolin counterparts, as a mixture with the over-reduced tetrahydropyrethrins, was developed. All other reduction processes abolished insecticidal activity against Lucilia cuprina larvae, whereas some isomerised analogues showed comparable potency with the individual natural pyrethrin esters. This work has revealed new insights into the structure-activity relationships in this unique class of insecticide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-281
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • pyrethrum
  • Tanacetum cinerariifolium
  • domestic and agricultural pesticides
  • Pyrethrins
  • insecticidal properties
  • pyrethrum-based insecticides
  • Lucilia cuprina
  • reduced Pyrethrin analogues
  • tetrahydropyrethrins


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduction Chemistry of Natural Pyrethrins and Preliminary Insecticidal Activity of Reduced Pyrethrins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this