Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2014 Nov 6;9(11):e111102. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111102. eCollection 2014.

Usnic acid potassium salt: an alternative for the control of Biomphalaria glabrata (Say, 1818).

Author information

Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Brazil.
Departamento de Radiobiologia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Brazil.
Departamento de Ciências Geográficas, Universidade de Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Brazil.
Centro Acadêmico de Vitória de Santo Antão, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Brazil.


In Brazil, the snail Biomphalaria glabrata is the most important vector of schistosomiasis due to its wide geographical distribution, high infection rate and efficient disease transmission. Among the methods of schistosomiasis control, the World Health Organization recommends the use of synthetic molluscicides, such as niclosamide. However, different substances of natural origin have been tested as alternatives for the control or eradication of mollusks. The literature describes the antitumor, antimicrobial and antiviral properties of usnic acid as well as other important activities of common interest between medicine and the environment. However, usnic acid has a low degree of water solubility, which can be a limiting factor for its use, especially in aquatic environments, since the organic solvents commonly used to solubilize this substance can have toxic effects on aquatic biota. Thus, the aim of the present study was to test the potassium salt of usnic acid (potassium usnate) with regard to molluscicidal activity and toxicity to brine shrimp (Artemia salina). To obtain potassium usnate, usnic acid was extracted with diethyl ether isolated and purified from the lichen Cladonia substellata. Biological assays were performed with embryos and adult snails of B. glabrata exposed for 24 h to the usnate solution solubilized in dechlorinated water at 2.5; 5 and 10 µg/ml for embryos, 0.5; 0.9; 1;5 and 10 µg/ml for mollusks and 0.5; 1; 5; 10 µg/ml for A. salina. The lowest lethal concentration for the embryos and adult snails was 10 and 1 µg/ml, respectively. No toxicity to A. salina was found. The results show that modified usnic acid has increased solubility (100%) without losing its biological activity and may be a viable alternative for the control of B. glabrata.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center