Unusually versatile plant genus Azadirachta with many useful and so far incompletely exploited properties for agriculture, medicine and industry

Hans E. Hummel, SS Langner, DF Hein, U Sanguanpong, H Schmutterer


Azadirachta indica (Indian Neem), A. siamensis (Thai Neem) and A. excelsa (Marrango, Philippinean/Malaysian Neem) belong to the Mahogany family and are endemic to the Indian subcontinent, with subsequent anthropogenic expansion to South-East Asia, but also into all tropical and subtropical areas of the globe. Traditional neem uses in stored product protection and medicine in India are well established for thousands of years. Recently, modern methods of analytical, organic and biochemistry could explain biochemical mechanisms of action. This was followed by greatly expanded insect management practices based on the useful properties of neem and neem oil. These natural products can serve as insect phago-deterrents and fitness reducing agents against pest insects, but also against bacterial, fungal and virus diseases of plants, domestic animals and humans. Neem products, in concert with pheromones, are the general agents of choice if all other control measures for various reasons fail.
Keywords: Azadirachta spp., azadirachtin, IPM, marrango, neem, neem oil

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