Mosquitoes are flies that can cause a great number of sufferings among other living species on a large scale. These 3,500 species belong to the phylum arthropod. In order to prevent them from being a vector of deadly diseases, researchers are trying various methods like graphene to eradicate them.
Mosquito bites can be very irritating and itchy but this is just the beginning of their deadly wedge. Mosquitoes work as a vector in transmitting diseases like dengue, malaria, the Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses.
As per the statistics, mosquitoes alone are one of the deadliest organisms on earth that also caused 438,000 deaths in the year 2015 through malaria.
Although modern science has come with various ways of minimizing the mosquito bites, the researchers are still not satisfied with these as they may cause environmental as well as health issues. So in order to find a more compelling method, they began with a series of experiments.
How graphene prevents from mosquito bites?
The structure of Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. Its interesting properties have made it a center of attraction among the scientists. This microstructure is much stronger than steel and can conduct heat and electricity efficiently.
The findings of the research appear in the PNAS journal. According to the authors, some scientists are experimenting with graphene to use it in modern wearable technologies for advanced purposes like energy storage, temperature regulation, radiative protection, and sensing.
As mosquitoes can sting through the thin fabrics, researchers were eager to know if a layer of graphene could prevent this.
During the experiment, the participants dipped their arms, having a small area of it exposed in a crate filled with mosquitoes. For a control experiment, some of the participants left their arms uncovered while some covered it with a thin fabric (cheesecloth).
During the 5 minute trial, mosquitoes attacked the uncovered and the thin cloth covered skin 5 to 20 times. But when the researchers included graphene in it, mosquitoes refrained from biting.
What does graphene do?
It was crystal clear that mechanically graphene was able to counteract the mosquitoes from entering the fabric but another interesting thing was also going on.
The team observed that the use of graphene reduced the landing of mosquitoes on the skin. But if in case they landed, they would remain over there for only a few minutes. Another interesting thing researchers found was that the mosquitoes did not try to bite the arm.
The findings give the idea that graphene somehow manages to camouflage the skin and helps to prevent mosquito bites like this. However, the findings almost failed when the graphene cam was in contact with human sweat or water. It offered less protection as some mosquitoes did not find any obstacle in biting the arm.
Is it safe to use graphene in routine?
Before including graphene into daily life, researchers need to work more as these findings are just preliminary.
Due to the high price of graphene, it cannot be used by most of the public. However, in future researchers may be able to produce a much more cost-effective way than this.
As mosquitoes attack their hosts by using various signs, there is a need for limiting these vital factors. Another most important issue which researchers are studying is that graphene becomes less effective in a moist condition. Thus, any future method for fighting the mosquitoes should be able to withstand moisture.
This is the first research which discovered the remarkable property of graphene against mosquito bites. Researchers hope to further carry out the research.