The fungus kills 99% of mosquitoes in 45 days

The researchers say their goal is not to make the mosquito extinct but to help prevent the spread of malaria from female mosquitoes sucking on human blood.

The fungus is genetically modified to produce the poisonous toxin of a poisonous spider. This poison quickly eradicates many mosquitoes - the malaria-spreading mosquito makes 400,000 people die each year.

The researchers say their goal is not to make the mosquito extinct but to help prevent the spread of malaria from female mosquitoes sucking on human blood. Around 219 million people worldwide get malaria every year.

Researchers from the University of Maryland (USA) and IRSS Research Institute in Burkina Faso first identified a type of fungus named Metarhizium pingshaense that naturally infects Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.

The next phase of the research program is to improve the capacity of Metarhizium fungi."This mushroom is very" gentle ", you can easily change their genes," Professor Prof Raymond St Leger (University of Maryland) told the BBC .

Picture 1 of The fungus kills 99% of mosquitoes in 45 days
This fungus helps prevent the spread of malaria due to female mosquitoes sucking human blood.

Use spider poison to kill mosquitoes

Scientists use a poison found in the funnel of the funnel-net spider in Australia.

The toxin production feature is added to the genome of the deer so that it begins to produce toxins once it infects mosquitoes.'Spiders use fangs to pierce insect skin and inject toxins, and we replace spider's fangs with Metarhizium mushrooms , ' explained Professor St Leger.

Laboratory tests show that the fungus genetically modifies mosquitoes faster and requires less fungal spores.

The researchers' next step is to test the fungus as much as possible with the real world.

In Burkina Faso, they set up a small village with enough trees, houses, tents, water and food for mosquitoes. There are two layers around the village to prevent mosquitoes from flying out.

Mushroom spores are mixed with sesame oil and swept onto black cotton sheets. Mosquitoes where the fabric will be infected. Researchers began experimenting with 1,500 mosquitoes.

The results of the study published in Science magazine show that when the mushroom has not been introduced, the number of mosquitoes has increased rapidly, but when there are fungi with spider toxins in the village, there are only 13 left after 45 days.

'The genetically engineered fungus quickly eradicates the population of mosquitoes in just two generations,' said Dr. Brain Lovett (University of Maryland).

Tests also showed that fungi only affect mosquitoes, not affecting other insects such as bees.

Mr. Lovett said: 'Our technology is not intended to push mosquitoes to extinction. We just want to break the spread of malaria in one area. '

The world now needs to develop new tools to prevent malaria because mosquitoes are increasingly resistant to insecticides. The World Health Organization warns that in 10 countries with the worst malaria situation in Africa, the number of cases is increasing.

Commenting on new research results, Professor Michael Bonsall of Oxford University (UK) said: 'This is a super interesting study. The prospect of controlling mosquitoes with genetically modified mushrooms is very high. '

Picture 2 of The fungus kills 99% of mosquitoes in 45 days
The funnel spider web in Australia has venom.(Photo: Australian Museum).