Glucosinolates As Natural Pesticides
Glucosinolates are a group of secondary compounds produced by members of the Brassicaceae (the crucifer or mustard family) and at least 10 other dicotyledonous plant families. Glucosinolates are enzymatically hydrolyzed by thioglucosidase glucohydrolase to form substituted isothiocyanates, nitriles, and thiocyanates. Glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products have long been of pharmacological and toxicological interest and are primarily responsible for the characteristic odors and flavors of cruciferous plants. Due to the potential loss of soil fumigants such as methyl bromide, the use of glucosinolate-containing plants as green manures or soil amendments to suppress weeds and soilborne pathogens is currently an area of active research. This chapter will focus on the pesticidal activity of glucosinolates and their degradation products.