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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Research Project #438858

Research Project: Environmentally-Friendly, Microbial and Plant-Based Agents for Mosquito Control

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Project Number: 5010-22410-022-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

Objective 1: Enable the commercial production of microorganisms and their bioactive metabolites to control mosquitoes and the viruses they carry. Goal 1.1: Evaluate larval-specific fungal/bacterial entomopathogens for mosquito control. Goal 1.2: Characterize and select microbial isolates with potential for bioactive factor production. Objective 2: Enable the commercial production of bioactive compounds from plants to control mosquitoes. Goal 2.1: Identify essential oils with adulticidal activity against mosquitoes and their potential application as ingredients of attractive toxic sugar bait. Goal 2.2: Develop essential oil emulsions that are effective against mosquito larvae.

Mosquito control is a fundamental component of mosquito-borne disease prevention and outbreak control. The conventional approach to mosquito control relies heavily on synthetic chemical insecticides, but there is an urgent need for alternative vector control tools to tackle the rising problem of insecticide resistance and limit pesticide-related environmental hazards. Biopesticides are pest management agents based on living organisms or natural products and have a proven potential as ecofriendly alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides. To date, only a limited number of biopesticides have been commercialized for use in mosquito control. Thus, the discovery of new biopesticide agents is one of the key priorities of vector biology research. This project will apply technologies allied with the fields of medical entomology, molecular biology, microbiology, chemical ecology and natural products chemistry to discover new microbial- and plant-based biopesticide agents to be developed and commercialized for mosquito control. Plant-based compounds that are highly effective against mosquitoes will be identified and developed into water-soluble and environmentally stable formulations for effective delivery to the target mosquitoes. The potential to harness bioactive compounds from plants as active ingredients for attractive toxic sugar-baits for mosquito control will also be explored. The project will focus primarily on plant essential oils because of their proven potential for pest and vector management. Additionally, we will explore and identify new entomopathogenic fungi and bacteria that kill different life stages of the mosquito. The bioactive compounds contributing to entomopathogenic activity of these fungi/bacteria will be isolated, characterized and examined for mosquitocidal and anti-arboviral activity. Successful completion of this project will lead to new discoveries that have great potential to propel the development and eventual commercialization of novel plant- and microbial-based agents for mosquito control.