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Graphene can be used to prevent mosquito bites



  Mosquito feeding (Culicidae sp), close-up

Mosquito hits the buffet.


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Mosquitoes, the thirsty little bloodsuckers, are one of the deadliest animals in the world . As the carrier of some particularly nasty diseases, the researchers found themselves in a seemingly endless quest to repel them . Scientists have invented new ingenious ways of eradicating them entirely, but researchers at Brown University have found another way to keep the small vampires in the neighborhood: Lining the fabrics with the insanely powerful nanomaterial 5 Graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel and lighter than paper, is often called wonder material. In a study Monday published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say graphene can work to prevent mosquito bites in two ways. For one, mosquitoes cannot bite through it. On the other hand, it could thwart the chemical signals that direct mosquitoes to their next "blood meal".


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"Mosquitoes are important vectors for diseases around the world and there is great interest in non-chemical protection against mosquito bites," says researcher Robert Hurt, a professor of engineering at Brown. Some clothing that is already available for purchase is infused with insect permethrin and promises to repel mosquitoes and ticks.

To test graphene, volunteers hammer their hands into a mosquito enclosure with a small patch of skin. Those who had the luck of their hand covered with graphene received no bites. The mosquitoes are bred in a laboratory so that brave test subjects do not have to worry about disease.

"With graphene, mosquitoes have not even landed on a skin patch," says lead author Cynthia Castillo, Ph.D. student at Brown. "They just didn't care."

Originally posted at 11:20 PM PT


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