To keep a check on the rising cases of dengue, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, has developed mosquito repellent cotton fabric.
After conducting extensive trials to check the effectiveness of the fabric, the Department of Apparel and Textile Science is now open to share the technology for its commercial use.
Sandeep Bains, dean, College of Community Science said that the textile material was made after three-year-long extensive research. He said that the fabric is made of 100% cotton and no chemical has been used to make the anti-mosquito cloth.
Bains said the cloth material is most effective against aedes aegypti, anopheles and culex mosquitoes causing malaria, dengue and chikungunya. “We have carried out various trials and also involved the zoology department. We had set up cameras in a chamber to release mosquitoes. The mosquitoes avoid sitting on the cloth that was mosquito repellent. Similarly, we had given bed sheets and pillow covers made of the special cloth material to students and received encouraging results,” said Bains.
Later, PAU made tops and wristbands for sportspersons and thereafter, shirts were made for the security staff to check the effectiveness of cloth material in outdoor conditions.
He said that initially, they began with the trials of three plants having mosquito repellent properties including rosemary, citronella and eucalyptus. However, eucalyptus was found to be the most effective plant. “We had to be cautious about the right amount of mixture of oil in the fabric to avoid it becoming poisonous,” said Bains. Sumeet Grewal, scientist, Department of Apparel and Textile Science, said that the mosquito repellent properties will remain on the fabric till 15 washes. The fabric is ready for commercial use. The university has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Haryana-based company that will use the technology for commercial purposes.
Bains said besides the Department of Community Science, Sumeet Grewal and Devinder Kochar, professors of the Department of Zoology were involved in developing the technology.