Discovery of novel natural products for mosquito control

Cecilia S. Engdahl, Chinmay V. Tikhe, George Dimopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vector control plays a key role in reducing the public health burden of mosquito-borne diseases. Today’s vector control strategies largely rely on synthetic insecticides that can have a negative environmental impact when applied outdoors and often become inefficient because of the mosquitoes’ ability to develop resistance. An alternative and promising approach to circumvent these challenges involves the implementation of insecticides derived from nature (biopesticides) for vector control. Biopesticides can constitute naturally occurring organisms or substances derived from them that have lifespan-shortening effects on disease vectors such as mosquitoes. Here we present the discovery and evaluation of natural product-based biological control agents that can potentially be developed into biopesticides for mosquito control. We screened a natural product collection comprising 390 compounds and initially identified 26 molecules with potential ability to kill the larval stages of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is responsible for transmitting viruses such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. Natural products identified as hits in the screen were further evaluated for their suitability for biopesticide development. We show that a selection of the natural product top hits, bactobolin, maytansine and ossamycin, also killed the larval stages of the malaria-transmitting mosquito Anopheles gambiae as well as the adult form of both species. We have further explored the usefulness of crude extracts and preparations from two of the best candidates’ sources (organisms of origin) for mosquitocidal activity, that is extracts from the two bacteria Burkholderia thailandensis and Streptomyces hygroscopicus var. ossamyceticus. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number481
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Biopesticide
  • Mosquito-borne diseases
  • Natural products
  • Vector control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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