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Multipurpose effectiveness of Couroupita guianensis-synthesized gold nanoparticles: high antiplasmodial potential, field efficacy against malaria vectors and synergy with Aplocheilus lineatus predators


Mosquito-borne diseases represent a deadly threat for millions of people worldwide. According to recent estimates, about 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population, are at risk of malaria. Malaria control is particularly challenging due to a growing number of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium and pesticide-resistant Anopheles vectors. Newer and safer control tools are required. In this research, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were biosynthesized using a cheap flower extract of Couroupita guianensis as reducing and stabilizing agent. The biofabrication of AuNP was confirmed by UV–vis spectrophotometry, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), zeta potential, and particle size analysis. AuNP showed different shapes including spheres, ovals, and triangles. AuNPs were crystalline in nature with face-centered cubic geometry; mean size was 29.2–43.8 nm. In laboratory conditions, AuNPs were toxic against Anopheles stephensi larvae, pupae, and adults. LC50 was 17.36 ppm (larva I), 19.79 ppm (larva II), 21.69 ppm (larva III), 24.57 ppm (larva IV), 28.78 ppm (pupa), and 11.23 ppm (adult). In the field, a single treatment with C. guianensis flower extract and AuNP (10 × LC50) led to complete larval mortality after 72 h. In standard laboratory conditions, the predation efficiency of golden wonder killifish, Aplocheilus lineatus, against A. stephensi IV instar larvae was 56.38 %, while in an aquatic environment treated with sub-lethal doses of the flower extract or AuNP, predation efficiency was boosted to 83.98 and 98.04 %, respectively. Lastly, the antiplasmodial activity of C. guianensis flower extract and AuNP was evaluated against CQ-resistant (CQ-r) and CQ-sensitive (CQ-s) strains of Plasmodium falciparum. IC50 of C. guianensis flower extract was 43.21 μg/ml (CQ-s) and 51.16 μg/ml (CQ-r). AuNP IC50 was 69.47 μg/ml (CQ-s) and 76.33 μg/ml (CQ-r). Overall, our results showed the multipurpose effectiveness of C. guianensis-synthesized AuNPs, since they may be proposed as newer and safer tools in the fight against CQ-r strains of P. falciparum and for field control of malaria vectors, in synergy with wonder killifish predators.

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P. Garrigues and two anonymous reviewers improved an earlier version of this manuscript. J. 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. We thank the King Saud University, through Vice Deanship of Research Chairs, for the full financial support.

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Subramaniam, J., Murugan, K., Panneerselvam, C. et al. Multipurpose effectiveness of Couroupita guianensis-synthesized gold nanoparticles: high antiplasmodial potential, field efficacy against malaria vectors and synergy with Aplocheilus lineatus predators. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 7543–7558 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-6007-0

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  • Chloroquine
  • Flower-mediated nanosynthesis
  • Malaria
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Golden wonder killifish