Perlite-covered mosquito foot
Volcanic glass - perlite - is used primarily as a nutrient additive to fertilize soil or provide insulation for buildings. Scientists from North Carolina State University and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have found a new use for it, having developed on its basis an effective remedy against malaria mosquitoes - Imergard WP.
It is a spray made of water and powdered perlite. The reason for the interest in new formulations is that the currently used mosquito insecticides are very toxic and cause harm to both the environment and people.
The new tool has been tested in four groups of huts in the Republic of Benin, West Africa. The walls of one group of huts were treated with Imergard WP, another with the widespread insecticide pyrethroid, and a third with a combination of the two. The fourth group of huts was the control one, it was not treated.
As a result, scientists found that the walls of the huts immediately after treatment with Imergard WP and its mixture with pyrethroid killed the largest number of Anopheles gambiae malaria carriers. And even six months after treatment, the mosquito mortality rate on the walls of the huts with Imergard WP remained at 78%, while on the walls treated with pyrethroid, it dropped to 25%.
According to scientists, the reason for the effectiveness of Imergard WP is that perlite particles, settling on insects, violate the protective properties of the lipid layer on their outer epidermis. As a result, mosquitoes simply dry out and die of dehydration.
Other important advantages of Imergard WP are environmental safety and low production costs.