Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Aims for Insecticide That Targets Malaria Mosquitoes

28.05.2013
In malaria-ridden parts of Africa, mosquito netting protects people from being infected while they sleep; now, a University of Florida entomologist wants to improve the netting by coating it with insecticide toxic only to mosquitoes.

The insecticide would work by interfering with an enzyme found in the nervous systems of mosquitoes and many other organisms, called acetylcholinesterase.

Existing insecticides target the enzyme but affect a broad range of species, said entomologist Jeff Bloomquist, a professor in UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Acetylcholinesterase helps regulate nervous system activity by stopping electrical signaling in nerve cells. If the enzyme can’t do its job, the mosquito begins convulsing and dies. The research team’s goal is to develop compounds perfectly matched to the acetylcholinesterase molecules in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, he said.

“A simple analogy would be that we’re trying to make a key that fits perfectly into a lock,” Bloomquist said. “We want to shut down the enzyme, but only in target species.”

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes in the Anopheles genus, notably Anopheles gambiae, native to Africa. The disease is common in poor communities where homes may not have adequate screens to keep flying insects out.

Malaria is caused by microscopic organisms called protists, which are present in the saliva of infected female mosquitoes and transmitted when the mosquitoes bite.

Initial symptoms of the disease can include fever, chills, convulsions, headaches and nausea. In severe cases, malaria can cause kidney failure, coma and death. Worldwide, malaria infected about 219 million people in 2010 and killed about 660,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 90 percent of those infected lived in Africa.

Bloomquist and colleagues at Virginia Tech, where the project is based, are trying to perfect mosquito-specific compounds that can be manufactured on a large scale and applied to mosquito netting and surfaces where the pests might land.

It will take at least four to five years before the team has developed and tested a compound enough that it’s ready to be submitted for federal approval, Bloomquist said.

The team recently published a study in the journal Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology comparing eight experimental compounds with commercially available insecticides that target the enzyme.

Though they were less toxic to mosquitoes than commercial products, the experimental compounds were far more selective, indicating researchers are on the right track, he said.

“The compounds we’re using are not very toxic to honeybees, fish and mammals, but we need to refine them further, make them more toxic to mosquitoes and safer for nontarget organisms,” he said.

Funding for the project came from a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

In Florida, malaria was a significant problem in the early 20th century, transmitted by native Anopheles mosquitoes. The disease has been greatly curtailed via mosquito-control practices but even today, cases are occasionally reported in the Sunshine State.

Source: Jeff Bloomquist, jbquist@epi.ufl.edu, 352-273-9417
Writer: Tom Nordlie, tnordlie@ufl.edu, 352-273-3567

Tom Nordlie | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>