A team at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), led by nano-technologist Sabyasachi Sarkar has proposed a single solution to solve the twin problems of toxic smog in the National Capital Region (NCR) and zika outbreak in Rajasthan.
The novel method (for simultaneous mosquito and smog control) has been reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Vector Borne Diseases.
The female Aedes mosquitoes that spread dengue, chikungunya, and zika viruses, lay eggs in water bodies along the roadside and in decorative flower pots and vases in homes or offices.
In laboratory studies, the researchers have now shown that water-soluble nano-carbon particles (wsNCP) dissolved in water prevent respiration of mosquito larvae, causing anoxia (lack of oxygen) and ultimately their death.
In fact, the larvae exposed to these nano-particles fail to reach even the pupae stage — one step before becoming an adult mosquito.
The odorless nano-carbon thus produced is environment-friendly and is non-toxic to humans.
It has also been shown to be harmless to fish and other living species in water, the report says.
For their study, the researchers collected a few Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae from a shallow pool near their institute and reared them in an aquarium containing “fluorescent” wsCNP at a concentration of three micrograms per milliliter (3ig/ml).
According to the report, “fluorescent imaging” of the entire life cycle of mosquitoes revealed that larvae exposed to the carbon nano-particles died even before attaining the pupae stage.
The nano-particles displayed a unique property by getting deposited over the air tube of the larvae choking their respiration causing anoxia and death.