DOI: 10.1002/arch.22037 ISSN: 0739-4462

Biocontrol effect of entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium anisopliae ethyl acetate‐derived chemical molecules: An eco‐friendly anti‐malarial drug and insecticide

Vivekanandhan Perumal, Swathy Kannan, Lucy Alford, Sarayut Pittarate, Supamit Mekchay, Gadi V. P. Reddy, Dilipan Elangovan, Ramachandran Marimuthu, Patcharin Krutmuang
  • Insect Science
  • General Medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology


Insect pests represent a major threat to human health and agricultural production. With a current over‐dependence on chemical insecticides in the control of insect pests, leading to increased chemical resistance in target organisms, as well as side effects on nontarget organisms, the wider environment, and human health, finding alternative solutions is paramount. The employment of entomopathogenic fungi is one such potential avenue in the pursuit of greener, more target‐specific methods of insect pest control. To this end, the present study tested the chemical constituents of Metarhizium anisopliae fungi against the unicellular protozoan malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the insect pests Anopheles stephensi Listen, Spodoptera litura Fabricius, and Tenebrio molitor Linnaeus, as well as the nontarget bioindicator species, Eudrilus eugeniae Kinberg. Fungal crude chemical molecules caused a noticeable anti‐plasmodial effect against P. falciparum, with IC50 and IC90 values of 11.53 and 7.65 µg/mL, respectively. The crude chemical molecules caused significant larvicidal activity against insect pests, with LC50 and LC90 values of 49.228−71.846 µg/mL in A. stephensi, 32.542−76.510 µg/mL in S. litura, and 38.503−88.826 µg/mL in T. molitor at 24 h posttreatment. Based on the results of the nontarget bioassay, it was revealed that the fungal‐derived crude extract exhibited no histopathological sublethal effects on the earthworm E. eugeniae. LC‐MS analysis of M. anisopliae‐derived crude metabolites revealed the presence of 10 chemical constituents. Of these chemicals, three major chemical constituents, namely, camphor (15.91%), caprolactam (13.27%), and monobutyl phthalate (19.65%), were highlighted for potential insecticidal and anti‐malarial activity. The entomopathogenic fungal‐derived crude extracts thus represent promising tools in the control of insect pests and malarial parasites.

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