Date of Graduation

Fall 2021


Master of Science in Plant Science (Agriculture)


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Maciej Pszczolkowski


The use of conventional chemical insecticides to control agricultural pest has become problematic as they may have a negative impact towards human health and the environment, resulting in a need to research alternative methods to insect pest control. Plant derived substances like essential oils have been used for generations as toxicants, repellants, and anti-feedants to control agricultural pest. More research is needed to understand how insect immune systems react to essential oils and if cellular immune responses of phagocytosis, encapsulation, and nodulation can be inhibited by such. Subjecting Galleria mellonella to various concentrations of “lemongrass factor” lets the researcher/scientist know which concentrations to use during experimentation and which concentrations are lethal to our test subject. By challenging the immune system of Galleria mellonella larvae with Sumi ink we activate the immune responses within the system, followed by an injection of “lemongrass factor” or topical application of the same essential oil to dorsal side of larva. This allows determination of what hemocytes are present, their numbers, and if cellular processes like phagocytosis is occurring between the hemocyte profiles. In this present study it was determined that “lemongrass factor” may inhibit cellular processes of insects by lowering numbers of hemocytes present and by lowering the intensity of phagocytosis. Our results suggest that “lemongrass factor” may be suitable as a bio-insecticide to control the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, a known agricultural pest.


Galleria mellonella, hemocytes, insect innate immune system, lemongrass, essential oils, bioinsecticides

Subject Categories

Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Entomology | Plant Sciences


© Jennifer C. Rice

Open Access