Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 23, pp 22541–22551 | Cite as

Evaluation of larvicidal, adulticidal, and anticholinesterase activities of essential oils of Illicium verum Hook. f., Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr., and Myristica fragrans Houtt. against Zika virus vectors

  • Diego Gomes da Rocha VorisEmail author
  • Luciana dos Santos Dias
  • Josélia Alencar Lima
  • Keila dos Santos Cople Lima
  • José Bento Pereira Lima
  • Antônio Luís dos Santos Lima
Research Article


Aedes aegypti is the vector responsible for transmitting pathogens that cause various infectious diseases, such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya, worrying health authorities in the tropics. Due to resistance of mosquitoes to synthetic insecticides, the search for more effective insecticidal agents becomes crucial. The aim of this study was to verify the larvicidal, adulticidal, and anticholinesterase activities of the essential oils of the Illicium verum (EOIV), Pimenta dioica (EOPD), and Myristica fragrans (EOMF) against Ae. aegypti. The essential oils (EOs) were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The larvicidal and adulticidal activities of EOs were evaluated against third instar larvae and Ae. aegypti adult females, respectively, using the procedures of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the anticholinesterase activity of the EOs by the modified Ellman method. The following major components were identified: (E)-anethole (90.1%) for EOIV, methyl eugenol (55.0%) for EOPD, and sabinene (52.1%) for EOMF. All EOs exhibited larvicidal and adulticidal activity against Ae. aegypti. The highest larval mortality was observed in EOMF with LC50 = 28.2 μg mL−1. Adult mortality was observed after 1 (knockdown) and 24 h exposure, with the highest potential established by the EOIV, KC50 = 7.3 μg mg female−1 and LC50 = 10.3 μg mg female−1. EOIV (IC50 = 4800 μg mL−1), EOMF (IC50 = 4510 μg mL−1), and EOPD (IC50 = 1320 μg mL−1) inhibited AChE. EOMF (4130 μg mL−1) and EOPD (IC50 = 3340 μg mL−1) inhibited BChE whereas EOIV showed no inhibition. The EOs were toxic to larvae and adults of Ae. aegypti, as well as being less toxic to humans than the currently used insecticides, opening the possibility of elaboration of a natural, safe, and ecological bioinsecticide for vector control.


Aedes aegypti Essential oils Larvicide Adulticide Anticholinesterase Bioinsecticide 



We acknowledge the members of the team of the Military Institute of Engineering (IME) and FIOCRUZ Entomology Laboratory located at the Institute of Biology of the Army (IBEX) for their kind cooperation and excellent assistance in this research project.

Funding information

This study received financial support from the Brazilian financial agencies, CNPq and CAPES. JAL is the recipiente of a CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in animal studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice in which the studies were conducted and authorized by the Ethics Committee on Animal Use (LW- 20/14 March 31, 2014).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2362_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 4278 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Gomes da Rocha Voris
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luciana dos Santos Dias
    • 2
    • 3
  • Josélia Alencar Lima
    • 1
  • Keila dos Santos Cople Lima
    • 1
  • José Bento Pereira Lima
    • 2
    • 3
  • Antônio Luís dos Santos Lima
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Chemical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Defence LaboratoryMilitary Institute of EngineeringRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Physiology and Control of Vector ArthropodsOswaldo Cruz Institute, FiocruzRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Entomology LaboratoryInstitute of Biology of the ArmyRio de JaneiroBrazil

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