January 24, 2022

Research indicates fungus could control mosquitoes

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thumbnail-11From Caribbean360

SWANSEA, Wales,– A team of researchers at Swansea University’s department of bioscience says a fungus could be the key to controlling mosquitoes and initial trials have been very promising.

The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae kills a wide range of insects and also has a deadly effect on mosquito larvae, according to the scientists.

“The fungus occurs in soil and kills a whole range of insects, but we’ve put it in the water where mosquito larvae breed and it is ingested by the insect and they die,” Professor Tariq Butt, a member of the research team, told BBC Radio Wales.

“Normally what happens is the fungus attaches to its hosts, germinates and penetrates the body of the insect, colonises the insect and in the process the insect dies.

“But, in this case it doesn’t germinate it just stays as spores packed in the body, in the gut, of the insect where it causes stress which activates a number of genes which trigger a whole range of responses leading to the death of the insect.”

Further research is now needed to see how the fungus can be introduced as initially it was hoped it would be passed from one insect to another, Professor Butt explained.

“In the past we were hoping the fungus was going to emerge from the body of the insect then the spores would be carried over to the healthy larvae and create an epidemic, but now what we’re seeing is we’d have to apply the fungus frequently,” he added.

Scientists hope that the research will find a way to control the insect which spreads diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya.

“It is reported that 300 children die each hour in Africa because of Malaria, but other diseases which are emerging such as dengue (fever) results in thousands of deaths reported across the world and also some of these diseases have been reported in Europe,” the professor said.

“We’ve done a number of trials and it looks very, very promising. Also, it’s quite nice that we’re killing three of the major species of mosquito transmitting a whole range of diseases.”(BBC News)

PHOTO: Metarhizium anisopliae kills a wide range of insects and also has a deadly effect on mosquito larvae if added to the water where breeding takes place.

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/1092373.html?utm_source=Caribbean360+Newsletters&utm_campaign=b97e2cad38-Vol_8_Issue_226_News12_27_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_350247989a-b97e2cad38-39393477#ixzz2ognhYPIH



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