Current Status and Future Prognosis of Malaria Vector Control Pesticide Ecotoxicology and Xenopus sp.

  • Nico J. WolmaransEmail author
  • Lieven Bervoets
  • Patrick Meire
  • Victor Wepener
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 252)


Anurans from the genus Xenopus have long been used as standard testing organisms and occur naturally in tropical and sub-tropical areas where malaria vector control pesticides are actively used. However, literature on the toxic effects of these pesticides is limited. This review analyses the available data pertaining to both Xenopus and the pesticides used for malaria vector control in order to determine the pesticides that have the greatest potential to influence amphibian health while also identifying gaps in literature that need to be addressed. Amphibian diversity has shown the fastest decline of any group, yet there are still voids in our understanding of how this is happening. The lack of basic toxicity data on amphibians with regard to pesticides is an issue that needs to be addressed in order to improve effectiveness of amphibian conservation strategies. Meta-analyses performed in this review show that, at current usage, with the available acute toxicity literature, the pyrethroid pesticide group could hold the highest potential to cause acute toxicity to Xenopus sp. in relation to the other MVCPs discussed, but the lack of data cripples the efficacy with which meta-analyses can be performed and conclusions made from such analyses. Several studies have shown that DDT accumulates in Xenopus sp. from malaria vector control areas, but accumulation of other MVCPs in frogs is still largely unknown. Through this review we hope to encourage future research into the field of amphibian ecotoxicology and to promote the use of the Xenopus standard model in order to build comprehensive datasets that may be used in amphibian conservation.


Acute toxicity Amphibian ecotoxicology Amphibian well-being Anura Chronic effects Conservation Cyhalothrin Cypermethrin DDT Deltamethrin Fenitrothion FETAX Frogs Malaria Malathion Model organism Organochlorine Organophosphate Pesticide Pyrethroid Species sensitivity distribution Sub-lethal effects Vector control Xenopus 



Acid phosphatase


Active ingredient


Amphibian metamorphosis assay




Cockayne syndrome A gene


Dichlorodiphenylacetic acid








Deoxyribonucleic acid


Effective concentration where 50% of the test population are affected


Endocrine-disrupting compound


Frog embryo teratogenesis assay-Xenopus




Inhibition concentration where 50% of the test population show inhibition of a measured aspect


Indoor residual spraying


Insecticide-treated net


Larval amphibian growth and development assay


Lethal concentration where 50% of the test population died


Lactate dehydrogenase


Lowest observed effects concentration


Minimum concentration to inhibit growth


Messenger ribonucleic acid


Muir-Torre syndrome gene


Malaria vector control


Malaria vector control pesticide


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide




Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Persistent organic pollutant


Species sensitivity distribution


Teratogenic index


Ultraviolet B


World Health Organization


Xeroderma pigmentosum group A gene


Xeroderma pigmentosum group G gene



This study was partially funded by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) to ECN (VLIR-OUS project – ZEIN21013PR396), and financial assistance was also provided by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF: Grant no. SFH150624120779). Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to VLIR or the NRF.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nico J. Wolmarans
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lieven Bervoets
    • 2
  • Patrick Meire
    • 3
  • Victor Wepener
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Research Group, Unit for Environmental Sciences and ManagementNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratory of Systemic, Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research, Department of BiologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Ecosystem Management Research Group (Ecobe), Department of BiologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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