Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















EPIDEMICS
Scientists fight mosquitoes, malaria with toxin-infused fungi
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Jun 13, 2017


An international team of scientists is taking a unique approach in the battle against malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The team, lead by researchers from the University of Maryland, have designed a mosquito-targeting fungus that replicates spider and scorpion toxins.

The fungus is not a risk to humans and early test results suggest it is safe for honeybees and other beneficial insects.

"In this paper, we report that our most potent fungal strains, engineered to express multiple toxins, are able to kill mosquitoes with a single spore," Brian Lovett, a graduate student in Maryland's entomology department, said in a news release. "We also report that our transgenic fungi stop mosquitoes from blood feeding. Together, this means that our fungal strains are capable of preventing transmission of disease by more than 90 percent of mosquitoes after just five days."

The fungus species Metarhizium pingshaensei naturally targets mosquitoes, and research suggests the spores colonize the disease-carrying species Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti.

The fungal spores can penetrate a mosquito's exoskeleton, invading the insect's insides, but a sizable spore count is needed to kill a mosquito -- and the process can be lengthy. Scientists set out to boost the fungi's potency by rewriting its genome.

Researchers engineered the fungus to express genes triggering the production of different combinations of neurotoxins from spider and scorpion venom. The toxins disrupt the nervous system by thwarting the calcium, potassium and sodium channels of communication -- channels necessary for the delivery of nerve impulses.

Researchers tested their new fungal strains on wild-caught, disease-carrying mosquito species known to be resistant to insecticides. The genetically engineered fungal strains proved more deadly than the unaltered fungus.

The most effective fungal strain was buoyed with toxins from the North African desert scorpion and the Australian Blue Mountains funnel-web spider -- Androctonus australis and Hadronyche versuta, respectively.

Researchers installed a genetic switch in the fungus that ensures the toxins are only expressed in the blood of insects and are not released into the environment.

"The toxins we're using are potent, but totally specific to insects. They are only expressed by the fungus when in an insect. Additionally, the fungus does nothing at all to bees and other beneficial species," said Raymond St. Leger, a professor of entomology at Maryland. "So we have several different layers of biosecurity at work."

Researchers detailed their mosquito-fighting breakthrough in the journal Scientific Reports.

EPIDEMICS
Cholera epidemic timeline
Paris (AFP) June 8, 2017
Cholera, which has killed 789 and infected 100,000 in war-ravaged Yemen since the end of April, is a water-borne disease which goes hand in hand with poverty. Here are the worst outbreaks around the world in the past ten years: - Haiti: most virulent outbreak - The most virulent outbreak in modern times was in Haiti, where more than 9,500 people have died and more than 800,000 been i ... read more

Related Links
Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

EPIDEMICS
Philippine war refugees facing deadly health risks

Japan workers exposed to dangerous radiation in lab

Scorpions the new threat for displaced Mosul civilians

GMV to supply Copernicus services in support to EU external action

EPIDEMICS
Liquids are capable of supporting waves with short wavelengths only

Metal-ion catalysts and hydrogen peroxide could green up plastics production

New sound diffuser is 10 times thinner than existing designs

New catalytic converter composite reduces rare earth element usage

EPIDEMICS
Boeing, Huntington Ingalls giving boost to Navy UUV program

New-generation material removes iodine from water

Branson petitions UN for oceans protection

Hong Kong activists dress as sharks to protest finning

EPIDEMICS
Finding new homes won't help Emperor penguins cope with climate change

Domes of frozen methane may be warning signs for new blow-outs

Blight or blessing? How the wolverine embodies Arctic diversity

Geoscientific evidence for subglacial lakes

EPIDEMICS
Scientists design laser to kill weeds

Spain's 'jamon' conquers China

Bee buzzes could help determine how to save their decreasing population

Study predicts where global warming is likely to spark food violence

EPIDEMICS
Greek island picks up the pieces after 6.3-magnitude quake

Volcanoes, referees for the life on Earth

Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe

2017 hurricane season follows year of extremes

EPIDEMICS
Nigerian soldier sentenced to death for 'Boko Haram' murder

France faces US reservations over UN backing for Sahel force

UN peacekeeper death toll rises after Mali jihadist attack

Mob justice fears after soldier's gruesome death in Ghana

EPIDEMICS
How the brain recognizes what the eye sees

Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Obesity 'epidemic' affects one in 10 worldwide

Living long and living well: Is it possible to do both




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement