Fungal infection counters insecticide resistance in African malaria mosquitoes

M. Farenhorst, J.C. Mouatcho, C.K. Kikankie, B.D. Brooke, R.H. Hunt, M.B. Thomas, L.L. Koekemoer, B.G.J. Knols, M. Coetzee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes is threatening the effectiveness and sustainability of malaria control programs in various parts of the world. Through their unique mode of action, entomopathogenic fungi provide promising alternatives to chemical control. However, potential interactions between fungal infection and insecticide resistance, such as cross-resistance, have not been investigated. We show that insecticide-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes remain susceptible to infection with the fungus Beauveria bassiana. Four different mosquito strains with high resistance levels against pyrethroids, organochlorines, or carbamates were equally susceptible to B. bassiana infection as their baseline counterparts, showing significantly reduced mosquito survival. Moreover, fungal infection reduced the expression of resistance to the key public health insecticides permethrin and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Mosquitoes preinfected with B. bassiana or Metarhizium anisopliae showed a significant increase in mortality after insecticide exposure compared with uninfected control mosquitoes. Our results show a high potential utility of fungal biopesticides for complementing existing vector control measures and provide products for use in resistance management strategies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17443-17447
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • anopheles-gambiae-s.s.
  • metarhizium-anisopliae
  • entomopathogenic fungus
  • pyrethroid insecticides
  • kdr mutation
  • south-africa
  • funestus
  • vectors
  • disease
  • transmission


Dive into the research topics of 'Fungal infection counters insecticide resistance in African malaria mosquitoes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this