Research Highlight

Green nanoparticles kill mosquitoes, malaria parasite

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.162 Published online 10 December 2015

Researchers have discovered that fern leaf extract and fern-synthesized silver nanoparticles, both alone and in combination, can kill malaria-spreading mosquitoes and the malaria parasite1

To find a potent antimalarial drug, the researchers synthesized silver nanoparticles using the leaf extract of a specific fern. They then tested the efficacies of fern leaf extract and silver nanoparticles to stifle the growth of adult mosquitoes (Anopheles stephensi) and their larvae and pupae and also to kill the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Under laboratory conditions, the fern leaf extract annihilated both mosquito larvae and pupae, while the fern-synthesized silver nanoparticles destroyed mosquito pupae. In the field, application of the fern leaf extract and silver nanoparticles completely decimated mosquito larvae in 72 hours.

The scientists found that both the leaf extract and the nanoparticles reduced the longevity and fertility of adult mosquitoes. Smoke from coils based on fern leaves, stems and roots also killed adult mosquitoes.

At half of their lethal doses, the leaf extract and nanoparticles annihilated both chloroquine-resistant and chloroquine-sensitive malaria parasites. This suggests that the fern-synthesized silver nanoparticles could be a potential weapon against drug-resistant malaria parasite, the researchers say.


1. Panneerselvam, C. et al. Fern-synthesized nanoparticles in the fight against malaria: LC/MS analysis of Pteridium aquilinum leaf extract and biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles with high mosquitocidal and antiplasmodial activity. Parasitol. Res. 1–17 (2015)