Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10272–10282 | Cite as

Curzerene, trans-β-elemenone, and γ-elemene as effective larvicides against Anopheles subpictus, Aedes albopictus, and Culex tritaeniorhynchus: toxicity on non-target aquatic predators

  • Marimuthu Govindarajan
  • Mohan Rajeswary
  • Sengamalai Senthilmurugan
  • Periasamy Vijayan
  • Naiyf S. Alharbi
  • Shine Kadaikunnan
  • Jamal M. Khaled
  • Giovanni Benelli
Plant-borne compounds and nanoparticles: challenges for medicine, parasitology and entomology


A wide number of studies dealing with mosquito control focus on toxicity screenings of whole plant essential oils, while limited efforts shed light on main molecules responsible of toxicity, as well as their mechanisms of action on non-target organisms. In this study, GC-MS shed light on main essential oil components extracted from leaves of the Suriname cherry Eugenia uniflora, i.e., curzerene (35.7%), trans-β-elemenone (11.5%), and γ-elemene (13.6%), testing them on Anopheles subpictus, Aedes albopictus, and Culex tritaeniorhynchus larvae. Non-target toxicity experiments were carried out on four species of aquatic larvivorous organisms, including fishes, backswimmers, and waterbugs. The essential oil from E. uniflora leaves tested on An. subpictus, Ae. Albopictus, and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus showed LC50 of 31.08, 33.50, and 36.35 μg/ml, respectively. Curzerene, trans-β-elemenone, and γ-elemene were extremely toxic to An. subpictus (LC50 = 4.14, 6.13, and 10.53 μg/ml), Ae. albopictus (LC50 = 4.57, 6.74, and 11.29 μg/ml), and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus (LC50 = 5.01, 7.32, and 12.18 μg/ml). The essential oil from E. uniflora leaves, curzerene, trans-β-elemenone, and γ-elemene showed low toxicity to larvivorous fishes, backswimmers, and waterbugs, with LC50 ranging from 303.77 to 6765.56 μg/ml. Predator safety factor (PSF) ranged from 55.72 to 273.45. Overall, we believe that curzerene isolated from the essential oil from E. uniflora leaves can represent an ideal molecule to formulate novel mosquito larvicides, due to its extremely low LC50 on all tested mosquito vectors (4.14–5.01 μg/ml), which far encompasses most of the botanical pesticides tested till now. Notably, the above-mentioned LC50 did not damage the four aquatic predators tested in this study.


Acute toxicity Biosafety Essential oil Eugenia uniflora Mosquitofish 



This Project was supported by King Saud University, Deanship of Scientific Research, College of Sciences Research Centre.  The authors would like to thank Professor and Head, Department of Zoology, Annamalai University for the laboratory facilities provided.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marimuthu Govindarajan
    • 1
  • Mohan Rajeswary
    • 1
  • Sengamalai Senthilmurugan
    • 1
  • Periasamy Vijayan
    • 1
  • Naiyf S. Alharbi
    • 2
  • Shine Kadaikunnan
    • 2
  • Jamal M. Khaled
    • 2
  • Giovanni Benelli
    • 3
  1. 1.Unit of Vector Control, Phytochemistry and Nanotechnology, Department of ZoologyAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalainagarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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