Applying coating of ‘cellulose nanocrystals’ on human skin decreased the number of mosquitoes feeding by 80%, according to new study.
By United with Israel staff
Researchers from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University say they have discovered “a safe, new method to prevent mosquito bites using a skin coating from naturally occurring cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs).”
According to a new study published in PNAS NEXUS, applying the thin CNC coating on human skin decreased the number of mosquitoes feeding by 80%.
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are renewable raw materials produced from wood, cotton, or other cellulose-rich sources and are used in cosmetics, composites, food packaging, and medical devices.
“Combining CNCs with the mosquito repellent indole confirmed its excellent potential as safe and sustainable mosquito prevention,” said lead researcher Prof. Jonathan Bohbot, of Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.
“CNC biocompatibility, ubiquity, and the potential for cost-effective mass production could result in a new generation of mosquito personal protective measures (PPE).”
According to the researchers, existing protection methods that actively repel mosquitoes, such as the synthetic non-odorant N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or natural odorants such as geraniol and citronella, “have a limited effective distance and time range.”
CNC, on the other hand, “appears to act as a chemical camouflage to the many cues sought by the insects and was found to reduce the blood feeding in the deadly mosquito, Aedes aegypti.”
The new method was tested on a single human hand and on an artificial feeding system by assessing the eggs laid after feeding with and without CNC.
The researchers found that the combined effect of CNC with indole reduced egg laying post-exposure to mammalian blood close to zero, with 99.4% fewer eggs compared to the control.
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