Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia seguine) Stem Extract
as a Rodenticide for Black Rats (Rattus rattus)
Mrs. Lalaine Biboso
Research II Adviser
Black rats are pests and are dangerous to humans in several ways. These species are also famous for its role in spreading the dreaded bubonic plague that took billions of lives in the Middle Ages. To control them, chemical rodenticides are used but these chemicals often destroy our environment and health, and may lead to death of non-targeted organisms and even human poisoning. Dumb cane contains calcium oxalate crystals that cause the poisoning. Thus it was the concern of the study to determine whether the dumb cane stem extract is effective in killing black rats.
Four treatments were prepared: T1 as the commercial rodenticide (Raccumin), T2 as the 100% pure dumb cane stem extract, and T3 as 50% dumb cane stem extract. The third treatment was diluted to 50% water. Each treatment had 3 replications with 3 rats each. 200 mL of each treatment were applied to the slices of chiffon cake and were fed to each group of rats. The mortality rate was measured and recorded every 2 days for 6 days.
The rats applied with T1 were killed after 4 days. This is because commercial rodenticides take effect after 3-4 days. The rats applied with T2 and T3 died after 6 days and this is because the rats didn’t immediately eat the cake fed to them. However, ANOVA showed no significant difference between the means of dead rats for every treatment. These results showed that the commercial rodenticide is as effective as the dumb cane stem extract as rodenticide although Raccumin takes effect for a shorter period of time compared to the dumb cane stem extract.
THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
Background of the Study
R. rattus (black rat) is a pest and is dangerous to humans in several ways. First, this animal is severely destructive to crops, farms, and fruit trees. Not only do they feed on these human produced items, but also they tend to destroy what they are unable to consume. By urinating and defecating on remains of their meals, they ruin grains, cereals, and other food sources. This specie is famous for its role in spreading the dreaded bubonic plague that took billions of lives in the Middle Ages. The fleas that live on these rats carry a number of diseases that can seriously harm human livestock, and other animals (www.animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu). This wild rodent can also be the carrier of the disease, Salmonellosis – caused by the bacteria, Salmonella typhimurium. They transmit the disease by contaminating food and drink with their feces and urine (www.napamosquito.org/Rodents).
To minimize the population of these rodents, rattraps and chemicals are used. These chemicals are usually mixed to food and serve as a trap. But these substances often destroy our environment and health. This will lead to the death of non-targeted organisms and even human poisoning.
Dumb canes are commonly grown indoors in houses and offices. When eaten or chewed, especially the stem of this plant, it can cause severe burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat. In severe cases, the swelling can cause death by choking. A large quantity of calcium oxalate, a chemical compound that forms needle-shaped crystals, is found in dumb canes and causes the poisoning. Researchers in Brazil have found that a diet high in calcium oxalate contributes to the formation of kidney stones in rats (www.healthandage.com). Kidney stones may cause pain, bleeding, obstruction of urine flow, or an infection.
Because of the characteristics possessed by this plant and its calcium oxalate content, it was the concern of this study to determine the effect of dumb cane extract to house rats.
Statement of the Problem
This study had answered the following questions:
1. Will the dumb cane stem extract be...
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