Background & objectives: Vector control strategies play significant role in reducing the transmission of malaria, dengue and other vector-borne diseases. The control of vector population using synthetic insecticides has resulted in development of insecticide resistance and negative effects on humans and environment. The present investigation evaluated the larvicidal potential of methanol, dichloromethane and hexane extracts of leaves and seeds of Ricinus communis (castor) plant against the early IV instar larvae of the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti, and malaria vector, Anopheles culicifacies.
Methods: Plant extracts were screened for their efficacy against Ae. aegypti and An. culicifacies using WHO standard larval susceptibility test method. Dose response bioassay was performed to get lethal concentrations. Further, gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis was carried out to identify the bioactive chemical constituents of the extracts of R. communis. Toxicity of the extracts towards non-target organism, Poecilia reticulata was also evaluated.
Results: The leaf and seed extracts of R. communis showed significant mortality against the larvae of Ae. aegypti and An. culicifacies at concentrations of 31.25, 62.5, 125, 250, 500 ppm; and 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 ppm, respectively. At 24 h of the exposure period, the larvicidal activities were highest for the methanol extract of seeds with LC50 15.52 and 9.37 ppm and LC90 45.24 and 31.1 ppm for Ae. aegypti and An. culicifacies, respectively. The methanol extract of seeds and leaves was found to be safe towards non-target organism, P. reticulata. The GC-MS profile showed that seed extracts were having higher concentration of stigmasterol (7.5%), β-sitosterol (11.48%), methyl linoleate (2.5%), vitamin E (11.93%), and ricinoleic acid (34%) than the leaf extracts.
Interpretation & conclusion: The seed extract of R. communis has better larvicidal activity than the leaf extract and can be used as an effective larvicide against mosquitoes. The non-toxicity of the extracts towards P. reticulata further suggests that these plant extracts could be used along with predatory fishes in integrated vector control approaches.
Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Anopheles culicifacies; GC-MS; Ricinus communis; bioefficacy; non-target organism.