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Eco-friendly control of malaria and arbovirus vectors using the mosquitofish Gambusia affinis and ultra-low dosages of Mimusops elengi-synthesized silver nanoparticles: towards an integrative approach?


Mosquito-borne diseases represent a deadly threat for millions of people worldwide. However, the use of synthetic insecticides to control Culicidae may lead to high operational costs and adverse non-target effects. Plant-borne compounds have been proposed for rapid extracellular synthesis of mosquitocidal nanoparticles. Their impact against biological control agents of mosquito larval populations has been poorly studied. We synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNP) using the aqueous leaf extract of Mimusops elengi as a reducing and stabilizing agent. The formation of AgNP was studied using different biophysical methods, including UV–vis spectrophotometry, TEM, XRD, EDX and FTIR. Low doses of AgNP showed larvicidal and pupicidal toxicity against the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi and the arbovirus vector Aedes albopictus. AgNP LC50 against A. stephensi ranged from 12.53 (I instar larvae) to 23.55 ppm (pupae); LC50 against A. albopictus ranged from 11.72 ppm (I) to 21.46 ppm (pupae). In the field, the application of M. elengi extract and AgNP (10 × LC50) led to 100 % larval reduction after 72 h. In adulticidal experiments, AgNP showed LC50 of 13.7 ppm for A. stephensi and 14.7 ppm for A. albopictus. The predation efficiency of Gambusia affinis against A. stephensi and A. albopictus III instar larvae was 86.2 and 81.7 %, respectively. In AgNP-contaminated environments, predation was 93.7 and 88.6 %, respectively. This research demonstrates that M. elengi-synthesized AgNP may be employed at ultra-low doses to reduce larval populations of malaria and arbovirus vectors, without detrimental effects on predation rates of mosquito natural enemies, such as larvivorous fishes.

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Philippe Garrigues and three anonymous reviewers improved an earlier version of the manuscript. Russell H. Messing was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 9023R. Jayapal Subramaniam is grateful to the University Grant Commission, New Delhi, India (UGC-BSR-RFSMS- Research Fellowship in Science for Meritorious Students) for providing financial support. This study was supported by King Saud University, Deanship of Scientific Research, and College of Sciences Research Center. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Benelli.

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Subramaniam, J., Murugan, K., Panneerselvam, C. et al. Eco-friendly control of malaria and arbovirus vectors using the mosquitofish Gambusia affinis and ultra-low dosages of Mimusops elengi-synthesized silver nanoparticles: towards an integrative approach?. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 20067–20083 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5253-5

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  • Aedes aegypti
  • Anopheles stephensi
  • Biological control
  • Dengue
  • Green-synthesis
  • Malaria
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • EDX
  • FTIR
  • XRD