Evaluating the efficacy of biological and conventional insecticides with the new 'MCD bottle' bioassay

Eleanore D. Sternberg, Jessica L. Waite, Matthew B. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Control of mosquitoes requires the ability to evaluate new insecticides and to monitor resistance to existing insecticides. Monitoring tools should be flexible and low cost so that they can be deployed in remote, resource poor areas. Ideally, a bioassay should be able to simulate transient contact between mosquitoes and insecticides, and it should allow for excito-repellency and avoidance behaviour in mosquitoes. Presented here is a new bioassay, which has been designed to meet these criteria. This bioassay was developed as part of the Mosquito Contamination Device (MCD) project and, therefore, is referred to as the MCD bottle bioassay. Methods: Presented here are two experiments that serve as a proof-of-concept for the MCD bottle bioassay. The experiments used four insecticide products, ranging from fast-acting, permethrin-treated, long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs) that are already widely used for malaria vector control, to the slower acting entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, that is currently being evaluated as a prospective biological insecticide. The first experiment used the MCD bottle to test the effect of four different insecticides on Anopheles stephensi with a range of exposure times (1 minute, 3 minutes, 1 hour). The second experiment is a direct comparison of the MCD bottle and World Health Organization (WHO) cone bioassay that tests a subset of the insecticides (a piece of LLIN and a piece of netting coated with B. bassiana spores) and a further reduced exposure time (5 seconds) against both An. stephensi and Anopheles gambiae. Immediate knockdown and mortality after 24 hours were assessed using logistic regression and daily survival was assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Across both experiments, fungus performed much more consistently than the chemical insecticides but measuring the effect of fungus required monitoring of mosquito mortality over several days to a week. Qualitatively, the MCD bottle and WHO cone performed comparably, although knockdown and 24 hour mortality tended to be higher in some, but not all, groups of mosquitoes exposed using the WHO cone. Conclusion: The MCD bottle is feasible as a flexible, low-cost method for testing insecticidal materials. It is promising as a tool for testing transient contact and for capturing the effects of mosquito behavioural responses to insecticides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number499
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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