Trash to treasure: how insect protein and waste containers can improve the environmental footprint of mosquito egg releases

Megan J. Allman, Aidan J. Slack, Nigel P. Abello, Ya-Hsun Lin, Scott L. O’neill, Andrea J. Robinson, Heather A. Flores, D. Albert Joubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Release and subsequent establishment of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti in native mosquito populations has successfully reduced mosquito-borne disease incidence. While this is promising, further development is required to ensure that this method is scalable and sustainable. Egg release is a beneficial technique that requires reduced onsite resources and increases community acceptance; however, its incidental ecological impacts must be considered to ensure sustainability. In this study, we tested a more environmentally friendly mosquito rearing and release approach through the encapsulation of diet and egg mixtures and the subsequent utilization of waste containers to hatch and release mosquitoes. An ecologically friendly diet mix was specifically developed and tested for use in capsules, and we demonstrated that using either cricket or black soldier fly meal as a substitute for beef liver powder had no adverse effects on fitness or Wolbachia density. We further encapsulated both the egg and diet mixes and demonstrated no loss in viability. To address the potential of increased waste generation through disposable mosquito release containers, we tested reusing commonly found waste containers (aluminum and tin cans, PET, and glass bottles) as an alternative, conducting a case study in Kiribati to assess the concept’s cultural, political, and economic applicability. Our results showed that mosquito emergence and fitness was maintained with a variety of containers, including when tested in the field, compared to control containers, and that there are opportunities to implement this method in the Pacific Islands in a way that is culturally considerate and cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number373
Number of pages15
JournalPathogens
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Aedes aegypti
  • diet
  • egg release
  • environment
  • mass release
  • waste
  • Wolbachia

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