A new study by Brown University shows that graphene sheets can block the signals mosquitoes use to identify a potential blood ‘donor’, which may enable a new chemical-free approach to mosquito bite prevention.
The researchers showed that multilayer graphene can provide a two-fold defense against mosquito bites. The ultra-thin yet strong material acts as a barrier that mosquitoes are unable to bite through. At the same time, experiments showed that graphene also blocks chemical signals mosquitoes use to sense that a blood meal is near, blunting their urge to bite in the first place. The findings suggest that clothing with a graphene lining could be an effective mosquito barrier, the researchers say.
“Mosquitoes are important vectors for disease all over the world, and there’s a lot of interest in non-chemical mosquito bite protection,” said Robert Hurt, a professor in Brown’s School of Engineering and senior author of the paper. “We had been working on fabrics that incorporate graphene as a barrier against toxic chemicals, and we started thinking about what else the approach might be good for. We thought maybe graphene could provide mosquito bite protection as well.”
To find out if it would work, the researchers recruited some brave participants willing to get a few mosquito bites in the name of science. The participants placed their arms in a mosquito-filled enclosure so that only a small patch of their skin was available to the mosquitoes for biting. The mosquitoes were bred in the lab so they could be confirmed to be disease-free.
The researchers compared the number of bites participants received on their bare skin, on skin covered in cheesecloth and on skin covered by a graphene oxide (GO) films sheathed in cheesecloth. Read full article here.
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The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene-based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists, and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies. For membership information, click here.
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