Potent nematicidal activity of phthalaldehyde, salicylaldehyde, and cinnamic aldehyde against Meloidogyne incognita

Pierluigi Caboni*, Nadhem Aissani, Tiziana Cabras, Andrea Falqui, Roberto Marotta, Barbara Liori, Nikoletta Ntalli, Giorgia Sarais, Nicola Sasanelli, Graziella Tocco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The nematicidal activity of selected aromatic aldehydes was tested against the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. The most active aldehyde was phthalaldehyde (1) with an EC50 value of 11 ± 6 mg/L followed by salicylaldehyde (2) and cinnamic aldehyde (3) with EC50 values of 11 ± 1 and 12 ± 5 mg/L, respectively. On the other hand, structurally related aldehydes such as 2-methoxybenzaldehyde (21), 3,4-dimethoxybenzaldehyde, and vanillin (23) were not active at the concentration of 1000 mg/L. By liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry the reactivity of tested aldehydes against a synthetic peptide resembling the nematode cuticle was characterized. At the test concentration of 1 mM, the main adduct formation was observed for 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde (22), 2-methoxybenzaldehyde (21), and 3,4-dimethoxybenzaldehyde. Considering that 2-methoxybenzaldehyde (21) and 3,4-dimethoxybenzaldehyde were not active against M. incognita in in vitro experiments led us to hypothesize a different mechanism of action rather than an effect on the external cuticle modification of nematodes. When the toxicity of the V-ATPase inhibitor pyocyanin (10) was tested against M. incognita J2 nematodes, an EC50 at 24 h of 72 ± 25 mg/L was found. The redox-active compounds such as phthalaldehyde (1) and salicylaldehyde (2) may share a common mode of action inhibiting nematode V-ATPase enzyme. The results of this investigation reveal that aromatic redox-active aldehydes can be considered as potent nematicides, and further investigation is needed to completely clarify their mode of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1794-1803
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • V-ATPase
  • advanced glycation end products
  • aromatic aldehydes
  • botanical pesticide
  • nematicide
  • reactive oxygen species
  • redox-active aldehydes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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