Toxicity of seaweed-synthesized silver nanoparticles against the filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus and its impact on predation efficiency of the cyclopoid crustacean Mesocyclops longisetus

Kadarkarai Murugan, Giovanni Benelli, Suganya Ayyappan, Devakumar Dinesh, Chellasamy Panneerselvam, Marcello Nicoletti, Jiang-Shiou Hwang, Palanisamy Mahesh Kumar, Jayapal Subramaniam, Udaiyan Suresh
Parasitology Research 2015, 114 (6): 2243-53
Nearly 1.4 billion people in 73 countries worldwide are threatened by lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic infection that leads to a disease commonly known as elephantiasis. Filariasis is vectored by mosquitoes, with special reference to the genus Culex. The main control tool against mosquito larvae is represented by treatments with organophosphates and insect growth regulators, with negative effects on human health and the environment. Recently, green-synthesized nanoparticles have been proposed as highly effective larvicidals against mosquito vectors. In this research, we attempted a reply to the following question: do green-synthesized nanoparticles affect predation rates of copepods against mosquito larvae? We proposed a novel method of seaweed-mediated synthesis of silver nanoparticles using the frond extract of Caulerpa scalpelliformis. The toxicity of the seaweed extract and silver nanoparticles was assessed against the filarial vector Culex quinquefasciatus. Then, we evaluated the predatory efficiency of the cyclopoid crustacean Mesocyclops longisetus against larval instars of C. quinquefasciatus in a nanoparticle-contaminated water environment. Green-synthesized silver nanoparticles were characterized by UV-vis spectrum, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). In mosquitocidal assays, the LC₅₀ values of the C. scalpelliformis extract against C. quinquefasciatus were 31.38 ppm (I), 46.49 ppm (II), 75.79 ppm (III), 102.26 ppm (IV), and 138.89 ppm (pupa), while LC₅₀ of silver nanoparticles were 3.08 ppm, (I), 3.49 ppm (II), 4.64 ppm (III), 5.86 ppm (IV), and 7.33 ppm (pupa). The predatory efficiency of the copepod M. longisetus in the control treatment was 78 and 59% against I and II instar larvae of C. quinquefasciatus. In a nanoparticle-contaminated environment, predation efficiency was 84 and 63%, respectively. Predation was higher against first instar larvae over other instars. Overall, our study showed that seaweed-synthesized silver nanoparticles can be proposed in synergy with biological control agents against Culex larvae, since their use leads to little detrimental effects against aquatic predators, such as copepods.

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