DOI: 10.1002/ps.7907 ISSN: 1526-498X

Low concentrations of selenium nanoparticles enhance the performance of a generalist parasitoid and its host, with no net effect on host suppression

James Rudolph Miksanek, Charles Adarkwah, Midori Tuda
  • Insect Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • General Medicine



The environmental and economic costs of conventional insecticides have stirred an interest in alternative management tactics, including the use of nanotechnologies. Selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) have many applications in agriculture but may not be compatible with biological control; however, low concentrations of SeNPs may benefit natural enemies via hormesis. This study investigates the concentration‐dependent effects of SeNPs (0–1000 mg L−1) on Anisopteromalus calandrae (Howard) (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), a generalist parasitoid of stored product pests.


The LC50 of SeNPs was 1540 mg L−1 for female parasitoids and 1164 mg L−1 for males. SeNPs had a significant hormetic effect; average lifespan increased by 10% at a concentration of 4.03 mg L−1 for females and by 35% at 13.83 mg L−1 for males. In a bioassay including hosts (the azuki bean beetle, Callosobruchus chinensis (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae)), a low concentration of SeNPs (25 mg L−1) enhanced the performance of female parasitoids; lifespan increased by 23% and the number of offspring increased by 88%. However, the number of emerging hosts did not significantly decrease; in the absence of parasitism, SeNPs actually improved host emergence by 17%.


Because higher concentrations of SeNPs reduced parasitoid lifespan, whereas low concentrations enhanced not only parasitoid performance but also host emergence, practitioners should exercise caution when considering SeNPs for use in integrated pest management.

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