Today’s Solutions: April 14, 2024

Synthetic insecticides are often effective and the weapon of choice when it comes to killing mosquito larvae, which is the best way to slow down the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. These chemicals, however, often have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

A simple way to fight mosquitos 

In a bid to provide a cheaper and more eco-friendly alternative, a team of scientists has developed a technique to improve the mosquito-killing properties of an essential oil.

The compound in question is clove oil, which is known for its ability to kill mosquito larvae when added to standing water. The anti-mosquito effects of clove oil come from the active ingredient eugenol.

The oil is not only safe for the environment, but cloves from which it’s made are cheap and readily available in countries where mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and Dengue fever, are pressing public health problems.

Oil over insecticides 

One of the major hurdles preventing clove oil from being used to kill mosquito larvae is the fact that it’s not as immediately effective as synthetic insecticides. These insecticides, however, have problems on their own. They tend to accumulate in the water, soil, and food — potentially hurting both people and nature. Additionally, mosquitos tend to become resistant to them over time.

Since this is not the case with clove oil, researchers at India’s Gauhati University decided to figure out a way to amplify its larvae-killing properties. They eventually succeeded in doing so by mixing clove-derived eugenol with a synergist chemical called piperonyl butoxide (PBO).

“The use of synergists, either synthetic or natural, along with insecticides like eugenol helps to prevent resistance development,” said Associate Professor Bulbuli Khanikor. “In the present study, combining synergists like piperonyl butoxide with eugenol was found to enhance the effectiveness of eugenol significantly.”

Source study: Scientific ReportsPersistent susceptibility of Aedes aegypti to eugenol

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