Insecticidal Activity of Organic Extracts of Solidago graminifolia and Its Main Metabolites (Quercetin and Chlorogenic Acid) against Spodoptera frugiperda: An In Vitro and In Silico Approach

Molecules. 2022 May 22;27(10):3325. doi: 10.3390/molecules27103325.


Spodoptera frugiperda (S. frugiperda) remains a global primary pest of maize. Therefore, new options to combat this pest are necessary. In this study, the insecticidal activity of three crude foliar extracts (ethanol, dichloromethane, and hexane) and their main secondary metabolites (quercetin and chlorogenic acid) of the species Solidago graminifolia (S. graminifolia) by ingestion bioassays against S. frugiperda larvae was analyzed. Additionally, the extracts were phytochemically elucidated by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) analysis. Finally, an in silico study of the potential interaction of quercetin on S. frugiperda acetylcholinesterase was performed. Organic extracts were obtained in the range from 5 to 33%. The ethanolic extract caused higher mortality (81%) with a half-maximal lethal concentration (LC50) of 0.496 mg/mL. Flavonoid secondary metabolites such as hyperoside, quercetin, isoquercetin, kaempferol, and avicularin and some phenolic acids such as chlorogenic acid, solidagoic acid, gallic acid, hexoside, and rosmarinic acid were identified. In particular, quercetin had an LC50 of 0.157 mg/mL, and chlorogenic acid did not have insecticidal activity but showed an antagonistic effect on quercetin. The molecular docking analysis of quercetin on the active site of S. frugiperda acetylcholinesterase showed a -5.4 kcal/mol binding energy value, lower than acetylcholine and chlorpyrifos (-4.45 and -4.46 kcal/mol, respectively). Additionally, the interactions profile showed that quercetin had π-π interactions with amino acids W198, Y235, and H553 on the active site.

Keywords: Solidago graminifolia; Spodoptera frugiperda; chlorogenic acid; insecticide; quercetin.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Animals
  • Asteraceae*
  • Chlorogenic Acid / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Insecticides* / pharmacology
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Solidago*
  • Spodoptera
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Insecticides
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Quercetin
  • Acetylcholinesterase

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.