To keep the rising dengue cases under control, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has developed mosquito-repellent cotton fabric.
After extensive attempts to verify the effectiveness of the fabric, the Department of Apparel and Textile Science is now open to share the technology for commercial use.
Sandeep Bains, dean of the College of Community Science, said the fabric material was made after three years of extensive research.
He said the fabric material is 100% cotton and no chemical was used to make the anti-mosquito fabric.
According to Bains, the fabric material is most effective against Aedes Aegypti, Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes, which cause malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.
“We carried out various tests and also involved the zoology department. We had cameras set up in a chamber to release mosquitoes. The mosquitoes avoid sitting on the mosquito-repellent cloth. We had also given the students sheets and pillowcases made from the special fabric material and had encouraging results, ”said Bains.
PAU later made tops and bracelets for athletes. Shirts were then made for security personnel to check the effectiveness of the fabric material in outdoor conditions.
He said they initially started trying three plants with mosquito repellent properties, including rosemary, citronella and eucalyptus. However, eucalyptus turned out to be the most effective plant.
“We had to be careful with the right amount of oil blend in the fabric to avoid it becoming toxic,” Bains said.
Sumeet Grewal, a scientist, Department of Apparel and Textile Sciences, said the mosquito repellent properties will remain on the fabric for up to 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 that in addition to the community science department, Sumeet Grewal and Devinder Kochar, professor in the department of zoology, were involved in developing the technology.