Surface functionalization of silver nanoparticles: Novel applications for insect vector control
Every day, people and animals contract debilitating and life threatening diseases due to bites from infected flies, ticks, and mosquitoes. The current methods utilized to fight against these diseases are only partially effective or safe for humans and animals. When it comes to insect vector control, a conceptual paradigm shift is urgently needed. This work proposes a novel synthetic scheme to produce a nanoparticle-pesticide core–shell conjugate to be used as an active agent against arthropod vectors, such as mosquitoes. As a proof of concept, we conjugated nanosilver to the pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin. First, electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy verified the presence of a 15 nm nanosilver core surrounded by deltamethrin. Second, when the conjugate was exposed to mosquitoes for a 24 h bioassay, mortality was observed at 9 × 10–4 M. Silver was detected in the hemolymph of mosquitoes exposed to the conjugate. We concluded that the newly developed nanoconjugate did not inactivate the primary function of the pesticide and was effective in killing mosquitoes at low concentrations. These results demonstrate the potential to use nanoparticle surfaces to kill insects, specifically vectors of human pathogens.