Plant-based constituents have been proposed as eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic insecticides for control of mosquito vectors of malaria. In this study, we first screened the effects of methanolic leaf extracts of curry tree (Murraya koenigii) growing in tropical (Mombasa, Malindi) and semi-arid (Kibwezi, and Makindu) ecological zones of Kenya on third instar An. gambiae s.s. larvae. Extracts of the plant from the semi-arid region, and particularly from Kibwezi, led to high mortality of the larvae. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the methanolic extract of the leaves of the plants from Kibwezi was then undertaken and the most active fraction (20 fold more potent than the crude extract) was then analyzed by Liquid chromatography quadruple time of flight coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-QtoF-MS) and a number of constituents were identified, including a major alkaloid constituent, Neplanocin A (5). Exposure of the third instar larvae to a sub-lethal dose (4.43 ppm) of this fraction over 7-day periods induced gross morphogenetic abnormalities in the larvae, with reduced locomotion, and delayed pupation. Moreover, the few adults that emerged from some pupae failed to fly from the water surface, unlike in the untreated control group. These results demonstrate subtle growth-disrupting effects of the phytochemical blend from M. koenigii leaves on aquatic stages An. gambiae mosquito. The study lays down some useful groundwork for the downstream development of phytochemical blends that can be evaluated for integration into eco-friendly control of An. gambiae vector population targeting the often overlooked but important immature stages of the malaria vector.
Mang'era, C.M., Hassanali, A., Khamis, F.M., Rono, M.K., Lwande, W., Mbogo, C., Mireji, P.O.