Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 805–821 | Cite as

Evaluation of two invasive plant invaders in Europe (Solidago canadensis and Solidago gigantea) as possible sources of botanical insecticides

  • Giovanni BenelliEmail author
  • Roman Pavela
  • Kevin Cianfaglione
  • David U. Nagy
  • Angelo Canale
  • Filippo Maggi
Original Paper


Solidago gigantea and Solidago canadensis (Asteraceae) are two invasive weeds native to North America and introduced in Europe and Asia, where they are spreading quickly threatening the stability of local secondary ecosystems. These two plant invaders may represent an ideal bioresource to be exploited for production of green pesticides. Therefore, herein we evaluated the efficacy of the essential oils (EOs) obtained from their different parts, i.e. leaves, inflorescences and roots, against Culex quinquefasciatus, Spodoptera littoralis and Musca domestica. The essential oil composition was investigated by gas chromatographic–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis. S. canadensis leaf EO was the most toxic to C. quinquefasciatus, with a LC50 of 89.3 μl L−1. The two most effective oils against M. domestica adults were S. canadensis leaf and flower EOs, with LD50 values of 206.9 and 207.1 μg adult−1, respectively. Three EOs highly toxic to S. littoralis were also identified, namely S. gigantea leaf EO, S. canadensis leaf EO and S. gigantea flower EO, with LD50 values of 84.5, 98.9 and 107.4 μg larva−1, respectively. Since the S. canadensis leaf EO was the only green product effective against all the tested insect pests, we selected it for non-target toxicity assays on Eisenia fetida earthworms, along with the leaf EO from S. gigantea. Both the S. canadensis and S. gigantea leaf EOs did not led to mortality of E. fetida adult earthworms, at variance with the positive control α-cypermethrin, allowing us to propose them for pest control purposes in IPM and organic farming.


Essential oil Culex quinquefasciatus Insect pest Mosquito vector control Musca domestica Spodoptera littoralis 



The authors are grateful to University of Camerino (Fondo di Ateneo per la Ricerca, FAR 2014/2015, FPI 000044) for financial support. Dr. R. Pavela would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic for its financial support concerning botanical pesticide and basic substances research (Project MZE-RO0418).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Animals and human rights

All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Crop Research InstitutePragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePraha 6 – SuchdolCzech Republic
  4. 4.EA7462 Géoarchitecture, UFR Sciences & TechniquesUniversité de Bretagne OccidentaleBrestFrance
  5. 5.School of Biosciences and Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CamerinoCamerinoItaly
  6. 6.Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of PécsPecsHungary
  7. 7.School of PharmacyUniversity of CamerinoCamerinoItaly

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