Berries commonly found across the country have the potential for keeping disease-spreading mosquitoes at bay, according to latest research.
Researchers at the Burdwan University in West Bengal found that juice and extracts from the berries of Solanum villosum were effective in eliminating the Stegomyia aegypti larvae, which can spread a number of viruses including dengue fever and yellow fever.
Although it was not as potent as a chemical insecticide, the authors suggest that plant extracts from S. Villosum have the potential for use in stagnant water where the mosquitoes breed.
"We found that these plants produce two types of phytochemicals. The most interesting are the secondary phytochemicals, such as steroids, terpenoids, flavonoids and alkaloids these act as a repellent which protect against the lethal effects of the larval mosquitoes," Nandita Chowdhury, Anupam Ghosh and Goutam Chandra said. They have published their findings in the latest issue of
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The next step is to identify the active compounds in the berries and to test whether these are effective in field trials, they said. A number of plants have been reported for their anti-mosquito activity.
Most of the studies report the active compounds to be steroidal saponins, which are thought to kill larvae by interfering with their cuticle membranes. However, only a few botanicals have moved from the laboratory to field use.