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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Apr;25(11):10515-10525. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-0635-5. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

The crop-residue of fiber hemp cv. Futura 75: from a waste product to a source of botanical insecticides.

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Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025, Pontedera, Pisa, Italy.
Crop Research Institute, Drnovska 507, 161 06, Prague 6, Czech Republic.
School of Pharmacy, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy.
School of Sciences and Technology, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy.
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Natural Product Laboratory, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.


In the attempt to exploit the potential of the monoecious fiber hemp cv. Futura 75 in new fields besides textile, cosmetics and food industry, its crop-residue given by leaves and inflorescences was subjected to hydrodistillation to obtain the essential oils. These are niche products representing an ideal candidate for the development of natural insecticides for the control and management of mosquito vectors, houseflies and moth pests. After GC-MS analysis highlighting a safe and legal chemical profile (THC in the range 0.004-0.012% dw), the leaf and inflorescence essential oils were investigated for the insecticidal potential against three insect targets: the larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus and Spodoptera littoralis and the adults of Musca domestica. The essential oil from inflorescences, showing (E)-caryophyllene (21.4%), myrcene (11.3%), cannabidiol (CBD, 11.1%), α-pinene (7.8%), terpinolene (7.6%), and α-humulene (7.1%) as the main components, was more effective than leaf oil against these insects, with LD50 values of 65.8 μg/larva on S. littoralis, 122.1 μg/adult on M. domestica, and LC50 of 124.5 μl/l on C. quinquefasciatus larvae. The hemp essential oil moderately inhibited the acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which is a target enzyme in pesticide science. Overall, these results shed light on the future application of fiber hemp crop-residue for the development of effective, eco-friendly and sustainable insecticides.


Cannabis sativa; Crop residue; Culex quinquefasciatus; Essential oil; Musca domestica; Spodoptera littoralis

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