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Shedding light on bioactivity of botanical by-products: neem cake compounds deter oviposition of the arbovirus vector Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the field


Industrial plant-borne by-products can be sources of low-cost chemicals, potentially useful to build eco-friendly control strategies against mosquitoes. Neem cake is a cheap by-product of neem oil extraction obtained by pressing the seeds of Azadirachta indica. Neem products are widely used as insecticides since rarely induce resistance because their multiple mode of action against insect pests and low-toxicity rates have been detected against vertebrates. In this research, we used field bioassays to assess the effective oviposition repellence of neem cake fractions of increasing polarity [n-hexane (A), methanol (B), ethyl acetate (C), n-butanol (D), and aqueous (E) fraction] against Aedes albopictus, currently the most invasive mosquito worldwide. These fractions, already characterized for low nortriterpenoids contents by HPLC analyses, were analyzed for their total content by HPTLC, highlighting striking differences in their chemical composition. Field results showed that B, A, and C tested at 100 ppm exerted higher effective repellence over the control (71.33, 88.59, and 73.49 % of ER, respectively), while E and D did not significantly deter A. albopictus oviposition (17.06 and 22.72 % of ER, respectively). The highest oviposition activity index was achieved by A (−0.82), followed by C (−0.63), and B (−0.62). Lower OAIs were achieved by D (−0.14) and E (−0.09). On the basis of our results, we believe that A, B, and C are very promising as oviposition deterrents against the arbovirus vector A. albopictus since they are proved as rich in active metabolites, cheap, and really effective at low doses.

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We would like to thank Angelo Canale and Susanna Mariani for the helpful discussion on bioactivity and chemical characterization of plant-borne natural products, Helen Romito for proofreading the English, and Francesca Cosci for her kind assistance during field experiments.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Benelli.

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Benelli, G., Conti, B., Garreffa, R. et al. Shedding light on bioactivity of botanical by-products: neem cake compounds deter oviposition of the arbovirus vector Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the field. Parasitol Res 113, 933–940 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-013-3725-4

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  • Azadirachtin
  • Ethyl Acetate Fraction
  • Rift Valley Fever
  • High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography
  • Oviposition Deterrent