Croatian diatomites and their possible application as a natural insecticide

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Ines Galović
Josip Halamić
Anita Grizelj
Vlatka Rozman
Anita Liška
Zlatko Korunić
Pavo Lucić
Renata Baličević


In recent decades, there has been an increase in the use of diatomaceous earth (DE) as a natural insecticide because of its low mammalian toxicity, worker safety, low risk of food residues and the occurrence of resistant insect populations associated with the use of chemical insecticides.Therefore there is potential for research into known but previously undescribed Croatian mid-Miocene marine diatomites from the perspective of their potential as proper DE that could be mixed with plant extracts as a new formulation for grain storage protection. The marine diatomites belong to the Paratethyan near shore environment, deposited in the upwelling zone during a mid-Miocene temperate climate. Palaeontological, mineral and geochemical analyses were done on ten promising marly sediments from 26 outcrops and one borehole from the North Croatian Basin. The most important ingredient of diatomaceous sediments is silica (biogenic opal-Aand SiO2 bound in other silicate minerals including quartz, clay minerals, micas, etc.). The amorphous silica content of the tested Croatian diatomites is relatively low (<50%) in comparison with the Celatom® MN 51 standard (medium to high efficient DE) (73.6%), nevertheless they show insome part even slightly better efficacy against insects. It seems that the enhanced content of smectite in diatomaceous sediments also influences increased absorption of DE. Based on palaeontological results, the most efficient diatomites from the Podsusedsko Dolje and Markuševec (Medvednica Mt.) consist of the mid-sized planktonic Coscinodiscus group of species whereThalassionema nitzschioides dominate and is positively correlated with their absorption. The usage of Boströms’ standard formula for getting opal-A from geochemical data was abandoned because of negative results and the modified Murdmaas’ formula for hemipelagic sediments was applied. Preliminary results on the aforementioned diatomite (as inert dusts) show good efficacy against tested insects Sitophilus oryzae (LINNAEUS), Tribolium castaneum (HERBST) and Rhyzopertha dominica (FABRICIUS).


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Original Scientific Papers
Author Biography

Ines Galović, Croatian Geological Survey

Department of Geology


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