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Effects of agricultural pesticides on the susceptibility and fitness of malaria vectors in rural south-eastern Tanzania

Urio, Naomi H., Pinda, Polius G., Ngonzi, Amos J., Muyaga, Letus L., Msugupakulya, Betwel, Finda, Marceline, Matanila, Godfrey S., Mponzi, Winifrida, Ngowo, Halfan S., Kahamba, Najat F., Nkya, Theresia E. and Okumu, Fredros O. (2022) 'Effects of agricultural pesticides on the susceptibility and fitness of malaria vectors in rural south-eastern Tanzania'. Parasites & Vectors, Vol 15, Issue 1, e213.

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Background: Agricultural pesticides may exert strong selection pressures on malaria vectors during the aquatic life stages and may contribute to resistance in adult mosquitoes. This could reduce the performance of key vector control interventions such as indoor-residual spraying and insecticide-treated nets. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of agrochemicals on susceptibility and fitness of the malaria vectors across farming areas in Tanzania.

Methods: An exploratory mixed-methods study was conducted to assess pesticide use in four villages (V1–V4) in south-eastern Tanzania. Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) larvae were collected from agricultural fields in the same villages and their emergent adults examined for insecticide susceptibility, egg-laying and wing lengths (as proxy for body size). These tests were repeated using two groups of laboratory-reared An. arabiensis, one of which was pre-exposed for 48 h to sub-lethal aquatic doses of agricultural pesticides found in the villages.

Results: Farmers lacked awareness about the linkages between the public health and agriculture sectors but were interested in being more informed. Agrochemical usage was reported as extensive in V1, V2 and V3 but minimal in V4. Similarly, mosquitoes from V1 to V3 but not V4 were resistant to pyrethroids and either pirimiphos-methyl or bendiocarb, or both. Adding the synergist piperonyl butoxide restored potency of the pyrethroids. Pre-exposure of laboratory-reared mosquitoes to pesticides during aquatic stages did not affect insecticide susceptibility in emergent adults of the same filial generation. There was also no effect on fecundity, except after pre-exposure to organophosphates, which were associated with fewer eggs and smaller mosquitoes. Wild mosquitoes were smaller than laboratory-reared ones, but fecundity was similar.

Conclusions: Safeguarding the potential of insecticide-based interventions requires improved understanding of how agricultural pesticides influence important life cycle processes and transmission potential of mosquito vectors. In this study, susceptibility of mosquitoes to public health insecticides was lower in villages reporting frequent use of pesticides compared to villages with little or no pesticide use. Variations in the fitness parameters, fecundity and wing length marginally reflected the differences in exposure to agrochemicals and should be investigated further. Pesticide use may exert additional life cycle constraints on mosquito vectors, but this likely occurs after multi-generational exposures.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 600 Insect control. Tick control
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 650 Insect vectors
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 240 Disinfection. Disinfestation. Pesticides (including diseases caused by)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2022 12:44
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 11:10


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