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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Larvicidal effects of Chinaberry (Melia azederach) powder on Anopheles arabiensis in Ethiopia

Ryan E Trudel and Arne Bomblies*

Author Affiliations

University of Vermont Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 33 Colchester Ave. Burlington, VT 05405 USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:72  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-72

Published: 10 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Synthetic insecticides are employed in the widely-used currently favored malaria control techniques involving indoor residual spraying and treated bednets. These methods have repeatedly proven to be highly effective at reducing malaria incidence and prevalence. However, rapidly emerging mosquito resistance to the chemicals and logistical problems in transporting supplies to remote locations threaten the long-term sustainability of these techniques. Chinaberry (Melia azederach) extracts have been shown to be effective growth-inhibiting larvicides against several insects. Because several active chemicals in the trees' seeds have insecticidal properties, the emergence of resistance is unlikely. Here, we investigate the feasibility of Chinaberry as a locally available, low-cost sustainable insecticide that can aid in controlling malaria. Chinaberry fruits were collected from Asendabo, Ethiopia. The seeds were removed from the fruits, dried and crushed into a powder. From developmental habitats in the same village, Anopheles arabiensis larvae were collected and placed into laboratory containers. Chinaberry seed powder was added to the larval containers at three treatment levels: 5 g m-2, 10 g m-2 and 20 g m-2, with 100 individual larvae in each treatment level and a control. The containers were monitored daily and larvae, pupae and adult mosquitoes were counted. This experimental procedure was replicated three times.

Results

Chinaberry seed powder caused an inhibition of emergence of 93% at the 5 g m-2 treatment level, and 100% inhibition of emergence at the two higher treatment levels. The Chinaberry had a highly statistically significant larvicidal effect at all treatment levels (χ2 = 184, 184, and 155 for 5 g m-2, 10 g m-2 and 20 g m-2, respectively; p < 0.0001 in all cases). In addition, estimates suggest that sufficient Chinaberry seed exists in Asendabo to treat developmental habitat for the duration of the rainy season and support a field trial.

Conclusions

Chinaberry seed is a very potent growth-inhibiting larvicide against the major African malaria vector An. arabiensis. The seed could provide a sustainable additional malaria vector control tool that can be used where the tree is abundant and where An. arabiensis is a dominant vector. Based on these results, a future village-scale field trial using the technique is warranted.