Coumarin (2H-1-benzopyran-2-one): a novel and eco-friendly aphicide

Coumarin (2H-1-benzopyran-2-one) is a phenolic compound derived from the shikimate pathway and synthesized by various medicinal and aromatic plants as parent molecule of a large group of secondary metabolites, namely coumarins. Its main utilization is as fixative in perfumes and flavour enhancer. Given its role as phytoalexin and phagodepression activity, herein we evaluated for the first time its efficacy against several insect species: the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, the moth Spodoptera littoralis, the housefly, Musca domestica and the filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus. Two non-target species were also included in our toxicity evaluation experiments: the ladybug Harmonia axyridis and the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Results highlighted remarkable selectivity of coumarin, being highly toxic to M. persicae aphids (LC50(90) values of 1.3(1.9) mg L−1) and friendly to natural enemies of aphids as well as soil invertebrates.