Old ingredients for a new recipe? Neem cake, a low-cost botanical by-product in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) represent an important threat to millions of people worldwide, since they act as vectors for important pathogens, such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue and West Nile. Control program mainly rely on chemical treatments against larvae, indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets. In recent years, huge efforts have been carried out to propose new eco-friendly alternatives, with a special focus on the evaluation of plant-borne mosquitocidal compounds. Major examples are neem-based products (Azadirachta indica A. Juss, Meliaceae) that have been proven as really effective against a huge range of pests of medical and veterinary importance, including mosquitoes. Recent research highlighted that neem cake, a cheap by-product from neem oil extraction, is an important source of mosquitocidal metabolites. In this review, the authors examined the latest achievements about neem cake metabolomics with special reference to nor-terpenoid and related content; the neem cake ovicidal, larvicidal and pupicidal toxicity against Aedes, Anopheles and Culex mosquito vectors; its non-target effects against vertebrates; and its oviposition deterrence effects on mosquito females. Overall, neem cake can be proposed as an eco-friendly and low-cost source of chemicals to build newer and safer control tools against mosquito vectors.

Authors: Benelli G, Murugan K, Panneerselvam C, Madhiyazhagan P, Conti B, Nicoletti M. ;Full Source: Parasitol Research. 2015 Feb;114(2):391-7. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-4286-x. Epub 2015 Jan 7. ;