Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 161 (2019), pp 77–85.

doi 10.1016/j.pestbp.2019.07.016


Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


The incidence of mosquito-borne disease poses a significant threat to human and animal health throughout the world, with effective chemical control interventions limited by widespread insecticide resistance. Recent evidence suggests that gut bacteria of mosquitoes, known to be essential in nutritional homeostasis and pathogen defense, may also play a significant role in facilitating insecticide resistance. This study investigated the extent to which bacteria contribute to the general esterase and cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (P450)-mediated detoxification of the insecticides propoxur and naled, as well as the insecticidal activity of these chemistries to the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Experiments conducted using insecticide synergists that reduce general esterase and P450 activity demonstrate a role for both groups of enzymes in the metabolic detoxification of propoxur and naled. Furthermore, reduction of bacteria in mosquito larvae using broad-spectrum antibiotics was found to decrease the metabolic detoxification of propoxur and naled, suggesting that the bacteria themselves may be contributing to the in vivo metabolic detoxification of these insecticides. This was supported by in vitro assays using culturable gut bacteria isolated from mosquito larvae which demonstrated that the bacteria were capable of reducing insecticide toxicity. More work is needed, however, to fully elucidate the contribution of bacteria in Ae. aegypti larvae to the metabolic detoxification of insecticides.