Household Detergent on Tomato: Phytotoxicity and Toxicity to Silverleaf Whitefly

in HortScience
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  • 1 University of Florida, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, P.O. Drawer 5127, Immokalee, FL 33934

Household detergents were evaluated in field studies on fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) for insecticidal and phytotoxic effects. Laboratory bioassays were used to examine the toxicity of a household liquid dish detergent on small nymphs of silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii Bellows and Perring. The detergents tested proved to be more toxic to whitefly nymphs than the commercial insecticidal soap. Detergent treatments were applied to tomato with a commercial high pressure hydraulic sprayer at 0%, 1%, 2%, 4%, and 8% (by volume) initially and at 0%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1.0%, and 2.0% (by volume) in subsequent tests. As detergent rate, frequency of application, or both increased, plant dry weight accumulation and fruit yield decreased. Applying detergent also increased time to fruit maturity. A once-a-week application of 0.25% to 0.5% detergent initially applied 2 weeks after transplanting alleviated phytotoxicity and yield reduction problems.

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