Effect of Moringa oleifera lectin on development and mortality of Aedes aegypti larvae
Aedes aegypti larvae have developed tolerance to many insecticides used for mosquito control. Moringa oleifera seeds contain a water-soluble lectin (WSMoL) and this paper reports the effect of M. oleifera seed extracts (MoE1–15) and WSMoL on development and survival of A. aegypti larvae. WSMoL peptide from in-gel trypsin digestion is also described. MoE1–15 showed hemagglutinating activity and WSMoL had similarity with flocculating proteins from M. oleifera seeds. MoE1 and MoE3 delayed larval development which stopped in the third instar (L3) in MoE6 and MoE15. Significant (p < 0.0001) larval mortality was only detected in MoE15. Native WSMoL showed larvicidal activity (LC500.197 mg mL−1) and heated lectin, without hemagglutinating activity, did not kill fourth instar (L4) larvae. Optical microscopy showed that live L4 from MoE1 presented underlying epithelium, increased gut lumen and hypertrophic segments; dead L4 from WSMoL were absent of underlying epithelium, had increased gut lumen and hypertrophic segments. The presence of hemagglutinating activity in the extracts suggests that soluble lectin promotes the delay of larval development and mortality; furthermore, the absence of larvicidal activity in heat-denatured WSMoL strengthens the involvement of lectin in this activity mechanism.