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Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Methods for Insect Pest Management of Crop Insect Pests

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Methionine as a safe and effective novel biorational mosquito larvicide

Author
item Weeks, Emma - University Of Florida
item Baniszewski, Julie - University Of Florida
item Gezan, Salvadore - University Of Florida
item Allan, Sandra - Sandy
item Cuda, James - University Of Florida
item Stevens, Bruce - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Mosquito control is a critical concern throughout the U.S. due to pestiferous biting as well as to the potential for transmission of various disease causing pathogens. Control is generally targeted to the aquatic larvae. However, the demands for new and innovative effective biorational larvicides are mounting due to the development of resistance to some currently utilized mosquito larvicides, undesirable non-target effects, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions. Scientists at the University of Florida in collaboration with a scientist at USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL, assessed the larvicidal toxicity of methionine, an essential amino acid, for its potential use in pesticide formulations. This study demonstrates that methionine was highly effective as a mosquito larvicide in the laboratory with potential to provide a beneficial new biorational, environmentally sustainable tool for control of pestiferous mosquitoes.

Technical Abstract: Mosquito larvicides provide a source-reduction strategy to diminish adult females that bite and potentially spread pathogens. Demands are mounting for new and innovative effective biorational larvicides, due to the development of resistance to some currently utilized mosquito larvicides, undesirable non-target effects, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions. Methionine is a human nutrient essential amino acid that unexpectedly has been shown to be a valuable safe pest management tool against select insect pests that possess alkaline gut physiology. The present study evaluated larvicidal toxicity of methionine in several pestiferous mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) genera. Concentration-dependent DL-methionine kinetics assays of survival and pupation were conducted in larvae of Aedes albopictus Skuse, Anopheles quadrimaculatus Say, and Culex tarsalis Coquillett in glass jars. Higher concentrations of DL-methionine yielded 100% mortality for all test species and prevented pupation at a rate equivalent to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bti) treatments. Concentration kinetics indicated that An. quadrimaculatus was 10-fold more sensitive than Ae. albopictus and Cx. tarsalis. EPA regulations currently exempt methionine in pesticide formulations applied to agricultural crops. This study demonstrates that methionine is a highly effective mosquito larvicide that can provide a beneficial new biorational, environmentally sustainable tool to control pestiferous mosquitoes.