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Mulberry Silk Can Kill Disease Carrying Mosquitoes

December 27th, 2017

Mulberry Silk Can Kill Disease Carrying Mosquitoes

The recent Zika outbreaks have prompted scientists and public health officials to experiment with novel methods of mosquito control. One group of researchers recently created a biofilm that possesses antimicrobial properties and disease fighting capabilities. This biofilm may prove useful against diseases spread by the aedes aegypti aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is the primary vector for Zika, dengue and chikungunya diseases that afflict humans.

Researchers have found that a biofilm made of silk derived from mulberries and coated with silver and gold nanoparticles can kill mosquito larvae. The silk that was synthesized from mulberry contains two components that make it useful as a disease fighting agent. These components are referred to as fibroin and sericin. Initially, researchers tested the synthesized film on common bacterias. It was found that this nanosilver and nanogold-based silk could destroy dangerous bacterias, such as E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, and P Aeruginosa. The film also has anti-fungal properties. Once this experiment proved a success, researchers subjected mosquito larvae to the film for a period of eight days. Eventually, the film killed-off nearly one hundred percent of all larvae used in the experiment. The study that was recently published by researchers noted that this film could also be useful against other mosquito-borne diseases like, flavivirus, malaria, yellow fever, filariasis, schistosomiasis and Japanese encephalitis. Not only can this silk prevent mosquito larvae development, but the head researcher believes that farmers can make sizable profits by growing and selling mulberry silk.

The silk is grown in areas of India that include Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir. These areas produce ninety two percent of the world’s mulberry silk supply. This film is also ideal for mosquito control because it is fully biodegradable. Further research and development is necessary before this material can be used for mosquito control purposes.

Do you believe that this method of mosquito control lacks the benefits of genetically-based forms of mosquito control? Which method do you believe is more ideal in the long run?

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