Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Metabolites from Actinobacteria for Mosquito Control

Written By

Pathalam Ganesan and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu

Submitted: 14 September 2021 Reviewed: 31 July 2022 Published: 09 November 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.106885

From the Edited Volume

Actinobacteria - Diversity, Applications and Medical Aspects

Edited by Wael N. Hozzein

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Arthropods like mosquitoes are well-known vectors which are mainly involved in the transmission of pathogens to different human and vertebrate diseases. Most of the pathogens like viruses and nematodes are transmitted by mosquitoes. Controlling vector populations by using actinobacteria can be particularly very effective. Actinobacteria which contain also non filamentous forms of bacteria which produce a large number of biologically active secondary metabolites. Even though many antibiotics have been developed from actinobacteria, not much work have been conducted in the field of pest control. The actinobacteria and their metabolites effectively control mosquito populations and the transmission of diseases by them. The microbial metabolites have many advantages over synthetic chemicals because many of them are host-specific and safe for beneficial organisms. Due to this species-specific effect, microbial pesticides are more reliable to control mosquito populations. These types of metabolites have to be evaluated for the development of novel insecticides for vector control. Some studies have reported the mosquitocidal effects of actinobacterial metabolites like tetranectin, avermectins, spinosad, macrotetrolides, etc; they have less or no residual effect in the environment. This chapter focuses on the mosquitocidal effects of actinobacteria and their metabolites.


  • Actinobacteria
  • Streptomyces
  • Aedes aegypti
  • Culex quinquefasciatus
  • Anopheles stephensi
  • vector-borne diseases
  • microbial pesticides

1. Introduction

Arthropods are the most important organisms in relation to humans and environment in many ways. Most insects are beneficial to environment, humans and other animals; some of them are dangerous to humans and mammals. Insects which act as vectors can cause several devastating diseases to human beings and other mammals. Mosquitoes are the most harmful vectors among hematophagous insects [1]. They transmit harmful pathogens which cause millions of death every year; they produce a great impact on public health, labour outputs and economics [2, 3]. Mosquitoes mainly transmit the diseases like Japanese encephalitis, filariasis, dengue, malaria, dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya [4, 5, 6, 7].

World Health Organization declared mosquito as the ‘public enemy number one’ in 1996 [8]. Millions of people are dying every year due to mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes can grow in different aquatic habitats such as ponds, overhead tanks, brackish water, sewage waters, freshwater pools, paddy fields, and even in stagnant rainwater in small containers [9]. Mosquitoes are important etiological agents not only to human beings but also to other native faunas [10]. Mosquito-borne diseases are becoming more extreme and spreading due to ecological and environmental changes like urbanization.

1.1 The most common mosquitoes as disease vectors

Five vector-borne diseases are considered as most dreadful diseases in India. They are malaria (transmitted by Anopheles spp.), dengue, chikungunya (Aedes spp.), filaria and Japanese encephalitis(Culex spp.) [11, 12].

1.1.1 Aedes spp.

The genus Aedes is the most important vector responsible for chikungunya and dengue, which are mainly found in the temperate regions of the world. Nearly 30–50% of the world population has been affected by dengue virus [13, 14]. Aedes aegypti is a tropical species that grows in fresh water in and around human dwelling areas. Aedes polynesiensis and Aedes scutellaris are in the western Pacific region and Aedes mediovittatus is in the Caribbean. Aedes is an important vector in Southeast Asia and it has spread to the Mediterranean rim, Americas, and western Africa [15, 16]. In 2006, several parts of southern India confirmed the re-emergence of chikungunya infection [17]. Chikungunya outbreak affected 1.25 million people from about 150 districts in eight states of India; the causative viral agent was spread by Aedes aegypti [18]. Mosquitoes not only transmit diseases to humans but also to other mammals like dogs, horses and cats. They cause diseases like West Nile fever, dog heartworm and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Dog heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a dreadful disease for canines.

1.1.2 Anopheles spp.

Malaria is transmitted by Anopheles spp. mostly in urban areas. Anopheles mosquitoes mainly breed in clean and rainwater storage amenities. Out of 59 Anopheline species in the world, nine occur in India as vectors. In Ethiopia, malaria is the main disease responsible for a large number of deaths. It is one of the significant interferences to financial enhancement as the important transmission time frames agree with top farming and collecting period [19, 20, 21]. In Orissa, a state which is located in the eastern part of India, a large number of malaria cases and malaria-related deaths were recorded [22]. Malaria outbreaks are common in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka [23, 24]. In India, Anopheles subpictus was reported in the state of Rajasthan and it is identified to transmit malaria and filariasis [25, 26].

1.1.3 Culex spp.

Culex is a vector of many diseases and an important genus of mosquito which transmits diseases like filariasis, St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis and avian West Nile fever. The adult Culex mosquito can size up to 0.16–0.4 inches [27]. It is a major house-dwelling mosquito in many tropical areas. Culex is an annoying mosquito to humans and main vector of filariasis in some countries. These mosquitoes mainly breed in polluted waters close to human residences. Culex mosquitoes are known to carry the nematode worm Wuchereria bancrofti which is responsible for causing lymphatic filariasis. More than 146 million people were affected all over the world [12, 28]. Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) belongs to the family of Flaviviridae and is the primary pathogen of viral encephalitis. In earlier times, JEV was efficiently controlled primarily by vaccination [11, 29]. Culex spp. are night-biting mosquitoes, with highest activities after 1 h of darkness. They are mainly exophilic and commonly stay indoors after feeding on blood. Culex bite causes sensitive responses like skin irritation, urticaria and angioedema [30].

With increasing human activities and climate change, several vector-borne diseases are emerging in the world. Humans are fighting to prevent mosquito-borne diseases for many centuries but still they are unable to find any definite way. To control mosquito-borne diseases we are following mainly two ways namely controlling mosquito population and protecting from bite. In eradication programmes, mosquitoes are killed at their immature and adult stage. Control of adult mosquitoes is mainly done in malaria control programmes, and larval control is done to eradicate filariasis, dengue and encephalitis [31, 32, 33]. In order to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, it is important to eradicate mosquito population for improving public health. Currently, eradication of mosquito programme is suffering because of the ever-increasing detrimental effects of synthetic chemicals on non-target organisms, development of pesticide resistance and environmental and public health concerns. The increased costs of insecticides and greater public concern over ecological pollution have required a continued search for alternative vector-control approaches, which would be naturally safer and specific in their action [12, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38]. Controlling of mosquito population at juvenile stages is done by direct application of insecticides in their breeding sites. Early insecticides such as DDT, BHC and methoxychlor were found to be effective in the beginning; after some years, due to the development of resistance by insect pests, their effectivity declined. Man-made chemicals such as chlorpyrifos, diflbenzuron, petroleum oils, pyriproxyfen, permethrin, malathion, methoprene, temephos and resmethrin are used to control mosquito population at the immature and adult stages [36, 39].

Applications of synthetic insecticides in the field have created a number of environmental problems, like resistance development in insect pests, environmental imbalance, and detrimental effects on animals. Repellents from synthetic chemicals have harmful impacts of toxic effects, undesirable effects like unpleasant odour and unpleasantly sticky skin; toxic reactions under some situations to different age groups, toxicity against the skin, nervous and immune systems usually occur when the product is used incorrectly or in the long term [40, 41]. Harmful effects of malathion are twitching of voluntary muscles, paralysis, ultimately death, incoordination, headaches, nausea, convulsions, blurred vision and pupil constriction, slowed heartbeat, respiratory depression, paralysis and coma [42]. Axonic poisons from pyrethroids cause toxicity to the nerve fibres which results in continuous nerve stimulation and suffering from headache, dizziness, nausea and diarrhoea. Different groups of pyrethroids like fenvalerate, sumithrin, d-trans allethrin and permethrin have some undesirable effects like disruption of hormonal pathways, reproductive dysfunction, developmental impairment and cancer [43].

Constant use of insecticides in the field and water bodies leads to serious hazards to the soil microorganisms and other beneficial organisms present in the environment. Highly sensitive reactions were observed when using malathion and carbendazim to Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma, Colossoma macropomum, Nannostomus unifasciatus, Otocinclus affinis and Paracheirodon axelrodi, one crustacean (Macrobrachium ferreirai), three insects (Hydrophilus sp., Buenoa unguis, and Palustra laboulbeni) and one freshwater snail (Pomacea dilioides) [44, 45, 46]. Thus, there is a continual need for developing biologically active molecules from natural resources which are toxic to insect pests but beneficial to environment. Insecticides derived from natural resources are generally preferred because of their less harmful nature to non-target organisms and innate biodegradability. Pesticides from natural sources are effective alternatives to such synthetic insecticides to control mosquito population [47, 48, 49, 50, 51]. In this chapter, the metabolites derived from actinobacteria which are toxic to mosquitoes, beneficial to non-target organisms, and their role in eco-friendly mosquito control programmes at present and in the future are discussed.


2. Chemical insecticides in mosquito control

Synthetic insecticides play an important role in controlling vector-borne diseases [52]. Methoprene is an important hormone that was first registered by EPA that acts as an insect growth-regulating hormone and inhibits the normal development of immature stages of insects. It mimics the insect growth hormone; it was successfully developed as a biorational insecticide based on understanding the physiology of insects [53, 54, 55]. Temephos is an organophosphate (OP) class of pesticides, and it was first registered by EPA in 1965. It was mainly used for controlling immature stages of mosquitoes and also other insect pests. Application of temephos is mainly on standing water, swamps, marshes, shallow ponds and intertidal zones to kill mosquito life stages [56]. Monomolecular films are prepared from renewable plant oils. Presently, two types of monomolecular surface film products Agnique® MMF and Agnique® MMF are available in the market for controlling the population of mosquitoes [57]. Using oils in vector control programme is the best way to control the population of insect pests. Oils are mainly derived from crude petroleum and several petroleum products. They act as contact poisons, with effective mosquitocidal efficiency [58]. Pyrethroid, resmethrin and chlorpyrifos have the ability to kill insects quickly mainly in mature stages, flying mosquitoes and other insect pests. Organophosphates and Malathion are mostly used for controlling both larvae and adults. DEET provides long-lasting protection against a wide range of insect pests, and it has been documented in several reports especially for preventing mosquito biting [59]. DEET is available in various commercial formulations such as lotions, gels, creams, aerosols, solutions, sticks, and impregnated towelettes [41]. Synthetic chemicals are preferred over natural because of their quick and strong efficacy to control vector population. However, chemicals derived from nature to control vectors are given preferences by government and non-government agencies to reduce the use of synthetic chemicals.


3. Ecofriendly management of mosquitoes

Predatory organisms mostly act as the main agents that are hazardous to mosquitoes but favourable to human beings. Without insecticides, predators can control mosquito population to some extent. Dragonflies consume the larvae and bats, and birds eat adult mosquitoes. Electrified coils are used to control insect pest population. They do not release toxic chemicals into the environment, but they can kill beneficial insects also and may cause danger to children and pets ( Larvivorous fishes have been widely used all over the world for controlling mosquito population. In 1905, larvivorous fish Gambusia affinis was purposely introduced from its native Texas to Hawaiian Islands, to Italy and Spain during1920s and later to 60 other countries [60]. Poecilia reticulata, a native of South America, was introduced to control malaria in British India and many other countries [61]. Sound traps which are used to control mosquitoes attract mosquitoes from long distances [62]. Using the lure and killing is the best method to control mosquitoes, especially in genus Anopheles and other arthropods [62, 63]. Balancing ecosystem is the most important thing in the living world. Every organism in the ecosystem is dependent on some other organism.


4. Microbes as insecticides

Eradication of insect pest population through pesticides derived from microorganisms is highly effective and generally has benefits over synthetic insecticides. The metabolites derived from microbes are host specific and there is no detrimental effect on the non-target organism and surrounding environs. Around the world, only 5% of fungi and 0.1% of bacteria have been described [64]. Different types of microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, nematodes and viruses are biologically toxic to insect pests [65, 66]. Microorganisms from different sediments are important sources of bioactive components for antibiotics; many bioactive secondary metabolites are used for biotechnology and pharmacological studies [67].

Larvicides derived from microbes, especially bacteria have been used to eradicate mosquito population for the past few years. Bacteria like Bacillus sphaericus are widely used for potential biolarvicide in mosquito control programmes worldwide; it exhibited effective larvicidal activity against larvae of several mosquito species. Commercial larvicides from active strain of B. sphaericus are used to control various types of insects which act as vectors [68, 69, 70]. Toxins Bin and Mtxs are produced during the sporulation and vegetative stages of B. sphaericus, and some of the toxic strains have been extensively used for controlling the populations of mosquito [71]. Larvicides developed from B. sphaericus against mosquitoes have led to development of resistance [72]. B. sphaericus biolarvicide is limited in India due to the resistance development in the target mosquito. In the early stage, An. stephensi had developed resistance against B. sphaericus [73, 74].

Metabolites from Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis were toxic to the larvae and pupae of Cx. quinquefasciatus [75]. Bacillus thuringiensisis naturally present in the soil and normally it is used as a pest-control microorganism. Different types of Bacillus thuringiensis have been used to control insect pests. It is the only insecticide extensively used in all parts of the world. δ-endotoxin produced from Bacillus thuringiensis is toxic to various insect species. The toxin initiates growth of a lytic protein in the midgut epithelial membrane, which leads to cell lysis, termination of feeding, and leads to death of the larva. They produce two different types of toxin proteins such as Cry and Cyst proteins [76, 77, 78]. Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis H-14, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens were highly effective against different species of mosquitoes [79, 80, 81, 82]. Secondary metabolites derived from various types of fungal species like Beauveria bassiana, Chrysosporium tropicum, Aspergillus niger, Cochliobolus lunatus, Fusarium oxysporum, Chrysosporium lobatum, Trichophyton ajelloi, Fusarium moniliforme, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Paecilomyces carneus, Paecilomyces marquandii, Isaria fumosorosea, Metarhizium anisopliae, Penicillium sp., Paecilomyces lilacinus and Evlachovaea kintrischic are also used to control the immature stages of mosquito population [83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89]. In recent years, the research on microscopic organisms has increased to identify microbial agents for various biological uses.


5. Actinobacteria for mosquito control

Actinobacteria are a group of filamentous bacteria; they are Gram-positive, dwelling in the soil, marine, and some of them are endophytic; they produce a large number of secondary metabolites. In the pharmaceutical industries, 75–80% of antibiotics are derived from microbes like actinobacteria [90, 91, 92]. Microorganisms present in different environments serve as an important natural resource for novel antibiotics, antitumor agents, and other therapeutic substances. Antibiotics such as erythromycin, vancomycin, and streptomycin are used for various pharmacological purposes [93, 94, 95]. The molecules isolated from microbes like actinobacteria are extremely toxic to insects like mosquitoes and have low toxicity to other beneficial organisms and environment. The use of secondary metabolites from actinobacteria may be a good approach for environment-friendly insect pest management [96].

5.1 Isolation of actinobacteria

Actinobacteria are present in different habitats, and they have a capacity to produce a large amount of various active secondary metabolites. Between the diversity of microbes, actinobacteria produce an enormous amount of secondary metabolites which have been used for various biological and biotechnological activities like anticancer drugs, antibiotics, pesticides, immunosuppressors and enzyme inhibitors [97, 98, 99, 100]. Isolation of actinobacteria from different environments like cold, halophilic and alkaliphilic is possible; some of them present in high temperatures are called extremophiles. More than 61% of the secondary metabolites are isolated from actinobacteria genus Streptomyces; some of the metabolites have been isolated from rare actinobacteria. The samples collected from extreme environments — particularly in places which are isolated from human dwellings yield good results [101, 102, 103, 104]. Generally, microorganism is isolated using serial membrane filter technique, dilution method and direct inoculation technique [105]. The collected samples are spread on different types of media used for actinobacteria isolation, such as actinomycetes isolation agar (AIA), humic acid vitamin agar (HVA), Starch casein agar, Glycerol-asparagine agar, Bennet's agar (BA) medium, Gause`s No.1 medium, Complex HV Agar, HV agar, humic acid vitamin agar, ZSSE (Zhang’ Starch Soil Extract Agar, Kuster’s agar, inorganic salt starch agar, starch nitrate agar, glycerol glycine agar, chitin agar, soil extracts agar and Glycerol-asparagine agar etc. [106, 107, 108]. The endophytic actinobacteria are isolated using the recommended method of Otoguro et al., [109]. Based on the colony morphology, the actinobacteria are selected and purified on ISP-2 (International Streptomyces project medium No. 2) for further bioactive studies [110].

5.2 Pre-treatment and selection of actinbacteria

Samples collected from different places are pre-treated using different procedures to remove the fungi, bacteria and other unwanted microbes. Pre-treatments of the collected samples encourage or enrich the growth of the actinobacteria, especially rare actinobacteria. In one of the pre-treatments, CaCo3 was used to treat the soil samples to decrease the number of other unwanted bacteria, and it allowed the excess actinobacteria spores cells to survive [111]. In Physico-chemical treatment, the soil sample (1 g) was suspended in 10 ml of normal saline, and the sample was heated for 1 h at 120°C to increase and encourage the growth of the actinobacteria [112]. Samples were treated with 1.5% phenol for 30 min at 30°C by the recommended method by Hayakawa et al., [112]. To decrease the growth of other unwanted microbes, the growth media were added with nalidixic acid (100 mg/l) and ketoconazole (30 mg/l) [113]. To increase the number of actinobacteria, the soil sample is treated with peptone (6%) and sodium lauryl sulphate (0.05%) at 50°C for 10 min [114]. Soil samples are added to 10 ml of sterilized distilled (Wet heat) water and heated in water bath at 30–50°C for 2–6 min and allowed to cool before serial dilution; without distilled water samples are heated (Dry heat) in hot air oven at 50–70°C [112, 115]. In other treatment, the soil sample is added to sterile water and centrifuged at 10,000 rpm for 30 min and used for isolation of actinobacteria [116]. Soil samples are treated with sodium dodecyl sulphate as per the prescribed method by Janaki et al., [117]. Sample is also treated in microwave oven as per the recommended method by Bulina et al., [118].

5.3 Identification of actinobacteria

Different physical, chemical and molecular methods are available for identification of actinobacteria species. Generally, actinobacteria are identified in the petriplate based on the aerial and substrate mycelia, melanin pigments, pigment production, elevation and surface of each culture on the media [119]. Kelly [120] designated the colony arrangement of the different types of actinobacteria. Sporulation arrangement and Spores structures of the actinobacteria species were examined microscopically [121]. To check the cultural characterization of actinobacteria, different strains were streaked in different optimized growth media. Physiological and biochemical characters were done using the streaking of the culture in different media gelatin agar plates (gelatin hydrolysis) and starch agar plates (starch hydrolysis and sodium chloride resistance) etc. Isolated actinobacteria were streaked in the Petri plates and incubated at different temperatures for 7 days to check the optimal temperature for maximum growth through visual analysis [122]. Gel-diffusion and Fluorescent antibody (FA) procedures were used to identify Actinomyces species [123]. Actinomyces israelii was identified by the method of Slack et al., [124]. Spores’ arrangements and Mycelium of the actinobacteria were carried out using scanning electron microscope (SEM). For genetic level identification, 16s rRNA was used for different actinobacteria [125].

5.4 Secondary metabolites from actinobacteria for mosquito control

The secondary metabolites isolated from actinobacteria are highly toxic to mosquitoes and have low toxicity to nontarget organisms. It is a good source for eco-friendly control of immature stages of mosquitoes [96]. Metabolites from actinobacteria were tested against mosquito life stages: three actinobacteria were reported to have ovicidal activity and 35 strains of actinobacteria had larvicidal activity; two Streptomyces sp. and one Paecilomyces sp. showed potent activity against tested mosquitoes. Aqueous solutions of actinobacteria presented potent larvicidal activity [126]. Karthik et al., [11] isolated the extract of S. gedanensis and tested it against the larvae of Cx. gelidus and Cx.tritaeniorhynchus. The results exhibited promising activity with LC50 values of 108.08 ppm and 609.15 ppm. Crude extracts of S. gedanensis and S. roseiscleroticus also revealed repellent activity at 1,000 ppm against Cx. tritaeniorhynchus and Cx. gelidus. Govindarajan et al., [127] reported that four Streptomyces sp. (A14, A21, A49 and A63) revealed potent larvicidal activity. Tanvir et al., [128] isolated twenty-one endophytic actinobacteria from plants. Among them, 10 actinobacteria species exposed strong larvicidal activity. Kekuda et al., [129] isolated extract from Streptomyces sp. and it showed 100% larvicidal activity against Ae. aegypti mosquito larvae after 24 h of treatment. Dhanasekaran et al., [130] reported that 35 actinobacteria isolated from different samples exhibited good activity against mosquitoes. Deepika et al., [131] reported 100% larval mortality for extract from Streptomyces sp. against Cx. quinquefasciatus. The marine actinobacterium (LK1) was isolated and crude extract was purified using reversed-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography. The extract presented good larvicidal activity against An. stephensi and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus with LC50 values of 31.82 ppm and 26.62 ppm, respectively, at tested concentrations [132]. Seven Streptomyces sp. isolated from marine sediments of South China produced siderophores, which acted as biocontrol agents and inhibited the growth of Vibrio spp. [133]. Gomes et al., [134] reported that five Streptomyces spp. were very efficient signifying their potential as biocontrol agents. Dhanasekaran et al., [135] isolated some actinobacteria and tested them for insecticidal activity. Totally four isolates showed strong larvicidal (100%) activity against larvae of Anopheles mosquito. Marine actinobacteria extracts had larvicidal, repellent and ovicidal activity against Culex gelidus and Culex tritaeniorhynchus [11].

Anwar et al., [136] collected different soil samples from various sites in salt range of Kalar Kahar, Pakistan and isolated 41 actinobacteria cultures. Among them, three actinobacteria: Streptomyces minutiscleroticus, Streptomyces rochei and Streptomyces phaeoluteigrisseus presented 100% larvicidal activity against Cx. quinquefasciatus. Vijayakumar et al., [137] tested the actinobacteria extract in different concentrations. The results presented that the isolates CC11 and SH22 (20%), CC110 and SH23 (16%), SH15 (12%), CC19 and S22 (8%), and S21 (4%) had good activity at 3 h against Anopheles mosquito. Filtrates of Streptomyces citreofluorescens presented good activity against A. stephensi and Cx. quinquefasciatus with LC50 values of 122.6 and 60.0 μl/ml, respectively [113]. Sanjenbam and Kannabiran, [138] isolated Streptomyces sp. VITPK9 from soil sample and tested for mosquitocidal activity. Ethyl Acetate extract gave good mortality against Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, An. subpictus and Cx. gelidus with LC50 values of 489.21, 831.78, and151.29 at 1000 ppm concentration.

5.5 Compounds from actinobacteria for mosquito control

Pure compounds isolated from actinobacteria like faerifungin, tetranectin, avermectins, flavonoids and macrotetrolides were found to be toxic against immature stages of vector mosquito and other insect pests. Actinobacteria like Streptomyces sp., Streptomyces griseus, Streptomyces avermitilis, Streptosporangium albidum and Streptomyces aureus produce these kinds of toxic metabolites that kill mosquitoes. Different types of genera were found to be producing toxic metabolites against mosquitoes; they are Actinomadura, Sreptoverticillium, Actinoplanes, Micropolyspora, Nocardiopsis, Thermomonospora, Oerskonia, Micromonospora, and Chainia [139, 140, 141, 142, 143].

Three new alpha class milbemycins (named milbemycins alpha28, alpha29, and alpha30)were isolated from Streptomyces bingchenggensis. They exhibited potent acaricidal and nematocidal activities [144]. Ichthyomycin, a compound isolated from Streptomyces sp. (strain 1107) was checked against larvae of Culex pipiens autogenicus, and the results exhibited that mortality of larvae was concentration-dependent [143]. Deepika et al., [131] isolated Streptomyces sp. VITDDK3 which produced the compound (2S,5R,6R)-2-hydroxy-3,5,6-trimethyloctan-4-one and which was tested for acaricidal and larvicidal activities against blood-sucking parasites. A compound trioxacarcin A (2a) and D (2d), isolated from the extract of Streptomyces sp. (B8652), influenced particularly high antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium falciparum [145]. Prumycin, isolated from Streptomyces sp. showed antimalarial activity against drug-resistant Plasmodia [146]. Actinobacteria like Streptomyces spinosa have been reported to have a high level of activity against phytophagous insects and insects impacting public and animal health [147]. Metacycloprodigiosin, bafilomycin A1, and spectinabilin, isolated from Streptomyces spectabilis (BCC 4785) showed strong in vitro activity against P. falciparum [148]. The compound, salinosporamide A, isolated from marine actinobacteria, Salinispora tropica, presented strong inhibitory activity against Plasmodium growth [149]. Isolation of 10 new nine-membered bis-lactones, splenocins A–J (1–10) from organic extract of Streptomyces species (strain CNQ431) presented potent biological activities [150].

The compounds tetranectin, avermectins, faerifungin, and macrotetrolides were isolated from Streptomyces aureus, S. avermitilis, Streptomyces albidum and Streptomyces griseus which showed insecticidal activity [139, 140, 141, 143]. Salinosporamide A and Depsipeptides derived from actinobacteria were used as antimalarial compounds [149, 151]. Avermectin family of 16-membered macrocyclic lac Streptomycestones isolated from Streptomyces avermectinius had antihelminthic activity [152]. Saurav et al. [153] isolated the pure compound, 5-(2, 4-dimethylbenzyl) pyrrolidin-2-one, from Streptomyces VITSVK5 sp. which exhibited strong activity against R. (B.) microplus, An. stephensi, and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. Faeriefungin, a polyol polyene macrolide lactone was isolated from the mycelium of S. griseusvar. autotrophicus. It showed 100% larval mortality of A. aegypti [154]. The compound aculeximycin, isolated from the Streptosporangium albidum, exhibited strong larvicidal activity against mosquito larvae as well as antimicrobial activities [126].

The compounds 5-azidomethyl-3-(2-ethoxy carbonyl-ethyl)-4-ethoxycarbonylmethyl-1H-pyrrole-2-carboxylic acid, ethyl ester (18.2%) 2; and akuammilan-16-carboxylic acid, 17-(acetyloxy)-10-methoxy, methyl ester (16R) (53.3%) were isolated from Streptomyces VITSTK7 sp. which had mosquitocidal activity [155]. Antonio et al., [156] reported that spinosad is a mixture of two tetracyclic macrolides produced during the fermentation of soil actinobacteria, and it was used for controlling dengue vector, A. aegypti.


6. Spinosad as a microbial pesticide

Insect control metabolite spinosad was isolated from soil bacterium Saccharopolyspora spinosa. It exhibited high toxicity to the insect pest compared to the formerly developed chemical insecticides. Environmental Protection Agency of the United States gave permission to use Spinosad against various insect pests [157, 158]. It is a combination of two tetracyclic macrolide neurotoxins, spinosyns A and D. Insecticide from spinosad targets the nervous system of pest which contains nicotinic acetyl-choline and GABA receptors leading to immobilization and death. Due to its specific toxicity and its favourable nontarget organism and ecological profile, spinosad is considered by IPM practitioners as a significant new-generation pesticide [159]. The pesticide developed from spinosad is currently used against different insect orders like dipteran, lepidopteran, thysanopteran, and some coleopteran. Recently, research reports have recognized that spinosads are used to control several important mosquito species which act as vectors [160, 161]. Some of the insect orders reported that spinosad acts as stomach poison with direct contact poison and it is most active against Diptera, Lepidoptera, some Coleoptera, ants, termites and thrips [162]. Spinosad presented effective controlling of the population, particularly during the development in immature aquatic stages of mosquito vectors such as Ae. albopictus, Ae. gambiae,Ae. aegypti, Ae. pseudopunctipennis, Cx. pipiens, Ae.albimanusand Cx. quinquefasciatus [163]. Spinosad has been found to eradicate mosquito population all over the world. Eradication of mosquitoes from water jars in Thailand, Mexico cemetery water containers, septic tanks in Turkey, field microcosms in California, flooded fields in Egypt, street drains, cesspits, and disused wells in India, plots in Florida, water tanks in India, basins in Connecticut USA has been reported [56, 147, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173].


7. Future prospects of actinobacteria for mosquito control

In this chapter, we have stated that actinobacteria are used to control mosquito population in immature stages like egg, larvae, pupae and mature adults. Insecticides from secondary metabolites derived from actinobacteria are an important component in controlling vector-borne diseases by controlling the population of mosquitoes. Identification of the compound present in the secondary metabolites paves the way to preparing an effective insecticide to control insect pests, especially mosquito. Metabolites from actinobacteria show species-specific target activity and nontoxicity to other animals and humans. The feasibility of pesticides in field application is considered as the most consistent agent for controlling immature stages of mosquitoes. Preparation of mosquito coil, cream, repellent and evaporator from isolated compounds of actinobacteria give great impact on mosquito population control. Only a limited number of research have been done on the actinobacteria to control mosquitoes. In future, researchers should focus on actinobacteria to identify novel compounds to effectively control mosquitoes. An efficient mosquitocide prepared from mixing of different compounds eluted from actinobacteria acts as a best alternative to synthetic insecticides to control mosquito-borne diseases without adverse residual effects. Government and private sectors should give priority to these kinds of research to promote mosquito control programmes.


8. Conclusion

Pesticides from actinobacteria are reliable mosquito control agents; they are in wider use in field applications to control various insect populations. Several research report that compounds from actinobacteria exhibit promising activity against mosquito population. Insecticides from natural resources like actinobacteria metabolites are easily produced in large quantities without disturbing other animals and ecosystems. In future, more research should focus on the isolation of compounds from actinobacteria with significant mosquito control metabolites from various natural sources such as desert, forest, marine and mangrove environments to control vector populations (Figure 1 and Table 1).

Figure 1.

Some of the compounds isolated from actinobacteria for mosquito control. (A) Cyclopentanepropanoic acid, 3,5-bis(acetyloxy)-2-[3-(methoxyimino) octyl], methyl ester [2]; (B) 5-azidomethyl-3-(2-ethoxycarbonyl-ethyl)-4-ethoxycarbonylmethyl-1Hpyrrole- 2-carboxylic acid, ethyl ester [2]; (C) akuammilan-16-carboxylic acid, 17-(acetyloxy)-10-methoxy, methyl ester [2]; (D) DEHP [80]; (E) (Z)-1-((1-hydroxypenta-2,4-dien-1-yl)oxy)anthracene-9,10-dione [20]; (F) (2S,5R,6R)-2-hydroxy-3,5,6-trimethyloctan-4-one [53]; (G) 5-(2,4-Dimethylbenzyl)pyrrolidin-2-one [123]; and (H) Antimycin [64].

Name of actinobacteriaEffective against Mosquito speciesReference
Streptomyces cacaoiAedes aegypti[117]
Nocardiopsis sp. KA25-ACulex quinquefasciatus[174]
Streptomyces citreofluorescensAnopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti[113]
Nocardia albaKC710971Anopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti[175]
Streptomyces zaomyceticus Oc-5 and Streptomyces pseudogriseolus
Culex pipiens[176]
Streptomyces rochei
Streptomyces rimosus
Streptomyces enissocaesilis
Streptomyces enissocaesilis
Streptomyces plicatus
Streptomyces bungoensis
Streptomyces ghanaensis
Streptomyces vinaceus
Streptomyces bungoensis
Streptomyces vinaceusdrappus
Streptomyces bungoensis
Aedes aegypti
Anopheles stephensi
Culex quinquefasciatus
Streptomyces strain AN120537Aedes aegypti[178]
Streptomyces rimosusCulex quinquefasciatus[179]
fungicidicus, S. griseus, S. albus, S. alboflavus and S. rochei
Aedes aegypti and Anopheles stephensi[180]
Streptomyces vinaceusdrappusCulex quinquefasciatus, Anopheles stephensi, and Aedes Aegypti[91]
Streptomyces sp.
subpictus Grassi and Culex quinquefasciatus Say
Streptomyces capillispiralis
Ca-1, Streptomyces zaomyceticus Oc-5, and Streptomyces pseudogriseolus Acv-11
Culex pipiens[181]
Streptomyces sp. VITJS4Anopheles stephensi, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus[182]
Streptomyces rochei, Streptomyces minutiscleroticusand Streptomyces phaeoluteigrisseusCulex quinquefasciatus[136]
Streptomyces sp. PA9Culex quinquefasciatus[183]
Saccharomonospora spp. (LK-1), Streptomyces
roseiscleroticus (LK-2), and Streptomyces gedanensis
Culex tritaeniorhynchus
and Culex gelidus,
Streptomyces sp. and Streptosporangium sp.Anopheles[137]
Actinomycetes strain LK1Anopheles stephensi and
Culex tritaeniorhynchus
Streptomyces sp.VITPK9Anopheles subpictus, Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Culex gelidus,[138]
Streptomyces VITSTK7 sp.Anopheles subpictus; Culex quinquefasciatus[155]
Streptomyces VITSVK5 sp.Anopheles stephensi, and Culex tritaeniorhynchus[153]
albovinaceus and Streptomyces badius
Culex quinquefasciatus[128]
Streptomyces sp. M25Anopheles subpictus, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti[184]
Streptomyces fungicidicus, Streptomyces
griseus, Streptomyces albus, Streptomyces rochei, Streptomyces violaceus,
Streptomyces alboflavus and Streptomyces griseofuscus
Culex pipiens[185]
Streptomyces collinusCulex quinquefasciatus
Aedes aegypti

Table 1.

Some of the actinobacteria species used for mosquito control.



The authors thank Xavier Research Foundation, St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu-627 002, INDIA for financial support and facilities.


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Written By

Pathalam Ganesan and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu

Submitted: 14 September 2021 Reviewed: 31 July 2022 Published: 09 November 2022