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Fungus Enhances Susceptibility Of Resistant Malaria Mosquito To Pesticides

In areas where malaria mosquitoes have become resistant to chemical pesticides, mosquito-killing fungi can be an effective tool. Fungal spores can effectively infect and kill malaria mosquitoes, even those that are resistant to pesticides. Moreover, the mosquitoes become more susceptible to the pesticides as the fungal infection increases.

Researchers from Wageningen University and their colleagues from South Africa have published an article on this effect in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) of this week.

Malaria mosquitoes are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides. As a result, malaria is difficult to control. Besides the existing chemical pesticides such as DDT and pyrethroids, which are applied indoors and on mosquito nets, there are few options for mosquito control. The use of insect-killing fungi is a novel biological control method for malaria mosquitoes that was developed in 2005 in cooperation with Wageningen researchers. The spores of the fungi can infect mosquitoes upon contact and kill them within several days. Moreover, a fungal infection reduces the mosquito's appetite and slows the development of malaria parasites inside the mosquito.

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