Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 807–815 | Cite as

Eugenol, α-pinene and β-caryophyllene from Plectranthus barbatus essential oil as eco-friendly larvicides against malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis mosquito vectors

  • Marimuthu GovindarajanEmail author
  • Mohan Rajeswary
  • S. L. Hoti
  • Atanu Bhattacharyya
  • Giovanni BenelliEmail author
Original Paper


Mosquito-borne diseases represent a deadly threat for millions of people worldwide. Eco-friendly mosquitocides are a priority. In Ayurvedic medicine, Plectranthus species have been used to treat heart disease, convulsions, spasmodic pain and painful urination. In this research, we evaluated the acute toxicity of essential oil from Plectranthus barbatus and its major constituents, against larvae of the malaria vector Anopheles subpictus, the dengue vector Aedes albopictus and the Japanese encephalitis vector Culex tritaeniorhynchus. The chemical composition of P. barbatus essential oil was analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy. Nineteen components were identified. Major constituents were eugenol (31.12 %), α-pinene (19.38 %) and β-caryophyllene (18.42 %). Acute toxicity against early third-instar larvae of An. subpictus, Ae. albopictus and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus was investigated. The essential oil had a significant toxic effect against larvae of An. subpictus, Ae. albopictus and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, with 50 % lethal concentration (LC50) values of 84.20, 87.25 and 94.34 μg/ml and 90 % lethal concentration (LC90) values of 165.25, 170.56 and 179.58 μg/ml, respectively. Concerning major constituents, eugenol, α-pinene and β-caryophyllene appeared to be most effective against An. subpictus (LC50 = 25.45, 32.09 and 41.66 μg/ml, respectively), followed by Ae. albopictus (LC50 = 28.14, 34.09 and 44.77 μg/ml, respectively) and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus (LC50 = 30.80, 36.75 and 48.17 μg/ml, respectively). Overall, the chance to use metabolites from P. barbatus essential oil against mosquito vectors seems promising, since they are effective at low doses and could be an advantageous alternative to build newer and safer mosquito control tools.


Aedes albopictus Anopheles subpictus Culex tritaeniorhynchus Culicidae GC-MS Mosquito-borne diseases Plant-borne larvicides 



The authors would like to thank the professor and head of the Department of Zoology, Annamalai University, for the laboratory facilities provided. We also acknowledge the cooperation of the staff members of the VCRC (ICMR), Pondicherry.

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Giovanni Benelli is an Editorial Board Member of Parasitology Research. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the Parasitology Research policies on sharing data and materials.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit of Vector Control, Phytochemistry and Nanotechnology, Department of ZoologyAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalai NagarIndia
  2. 2.Regional Medical Research CentreBelgaumIndia
  3. 3.Nanotechnology Section, Department of Biomedical EngineeringRajiv Gandhi Institute of TechnologyBangaloreIndia
  4. 4.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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