Photodynamic control of human pathogenic parasites in aquatic ecosystems using chlorophyllin and pheophorbid as photodynamic substances

Parasitol Res. 2009 Feb;104(3):593-600. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-1235-6. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


When used at low concentrations and added to the water body, water-soluble chlorophyllin (resulting from chlorophyll after removal of the phytol) and pheophorbid (produced from chlorophyllin by acidification) are able to kill mosquito larvae and other small animals within a few hours under exposure of solar radiation. Under laboratory conditions, the use of chlorophyllin/pheophorbid as photodynamic substances for pest control in water bodies promises to be not only effective and ecologically beneficial but also cheap. The LD50 (50% of mortality in the tested organisms) value in Culex sp. larvae was about 6.88 mg/l, in Chaoborus sp. larvae about 24.18 mg/l, and in Daphnia 0.55 mg/l. The LD50 values determined for pheophorbid were 8.44 mg/l in Culex, 1.05 mg/l in Chaoborus, and 0.45 mg/l in Daphnia, respectively. In some cases, chlorophyllin and pheophorbid were also found to be (less) active in darkness. The results presented in this paper show that chlorophyllin is about a factor of 100 more effective than methylene blue or hematoporphyrine, which were tested earlier for the same purpose. It is also much cheaper and, as a substance found in every green plant, it is 100% biodegradable.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorophyll / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chlorophyll / pharmacology
  • Chlorophyllides / pharmacology*
  • Culex / drug effects*
  • Daphnia / drug effects*
  • Diptera / drug effects*
  • Ecosystem
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Mosquito Control / methods
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Water


  • Chlorophyllides
  • Insecticides
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Water
  • Chlorophyll
  • chlorophyllin
  • pheophorbide a