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Chilean journal of agricultural research

On-line version ISSN 0718-5839


CHIFFELLE G, Italo; HUERTA F, Amanda  and  LIZANA R, Diego. Physical and Chemical Characterization of Melia azedarach L. Fruit and Leaf  for Use as Botanical Insecticide. Chilean J. Agric. Res. [online]. 2009, vol.69, n.1, pp.38-45. ISSN 0718-5839.

A study was undertaken of the physical and chemical characteristics and insecticide properties of melia (Melia azedarach L.) (Meliaceae) fruit and leaves; melia has been introduced in Chile for ornamental purposes. The physical and chemical properties were evaluated in two stages of fruit and leaf maturity, i.e., green /mature, and mature/juvenile, respectively.  Laboratory bioassays were carried out on Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Diptera: Drosophilidae) as an insect model. The diameter of M. azedarach fruit was in the lower limit in relation to other studies. The flour obtained from green fruit had an average dry weight inferior to that of mature fruit. The average dry leaf weights were similar in both juvenile and mature states.  The green fruits had 50% initial humidity, similar to juvenile (60%) and mature (57%) leaves, but greater than the mature fruits (44%). The chemical analysis of the fruit maturity stages determined a slight increase in crude fiber content as maturity increased. There was a decrease in the lipid content of leaves close to 60% at maturity. Furthermore, an analysis of polyphenols was made using HPLC-DAD (High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Diode Array Detector), and 14 compounds were identified as causes of the insecticidal effect of the M. azedarach fruit, of which three would correspond to flavonoids: one catechin and two kaempherols. Finally, the aqueous fruit and leaf extracts of M. azedarach were effective insecticides on D. melanogaster, reaching 90% mortality (125 000 mg kg-1) with juvenile leaves and 73.3% (10 700 mg kg-1) with green fruit.

Keywords : Chinaberry tree; Meliaceae; phenolic compounds.

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