Parasitology Research

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 391–397 | Cite as

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

  • Giovanni BenelliEmail author
  • Kadarkarai Murugan
  • Chellasamy Panneerselvam
  • Pari Madhiyazhagan
  • Barbara Conti
  • Marcello Nicoletti


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 programmes 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, we examined (i) the latest achievements about neem cake metabolomics with special reference to nor-terpenoid and related content; (ii) the neem cake ovicidal, larvicidal and pupicidal toxicity against Aedes, Anopheles and Culex mosquito vectors; (iii) its non-target effects against vertebrates; and (iv) 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.


Aedes Anopheles Arbovirus vector Azadirachta indica Filariasis vector HPTLC Meliaceae Mosquitocidal molecules Oviposition deterrence 



We would like to thank Professor Heinz Mehlhorn and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this review. We gratefully  acknowledge the contributions of our co-authors to the original work. Giovanni Benelli is supported by a MIS. 124 MODOLIVI Grant. Funds were also provided by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). Funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Benelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kadarkarai Murugan
    • 2
  • Chellasamy Panneerselvam
    • 2
  • Pari Madhiyazhagan
    • 2
  • Barbara Conti
    • 1
  • Marcello Nicoletti
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Division of Entomology, Department of Zoology, School of Life SciencesBharathiar UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity Sapienza of RomeRomeItaly

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