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UIS researchers develop new bait to attract and capture disease-transmitting mosquitoes

Image showing UIS researcher
The device was elaborated from natural raw materials and would serve as a usable lure in devices to capture vectors that cause serious diseases

Communications Department

From natural and biodegradable elements, researchers from the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) created a new bait that works as an attractant for hematophagous insects. The device was elaborated from natural raw materials and would serve as a usable lure in devices to capture vectors that cause serious diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika, among others.

This new bait, which was recently patented by the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC), is composed by the union of a gel and natural fibers such as jute, which can simulate some compounds and odors emitted by human beings, for example, sweat.

Initially, it was designed to be used specifically in traps to capture and control mosquitoes at the UIS, but it is estimated that it can be scaled up to work with other traps that are available in the insect control market.

For Professor Débora Alcida Nabarlatz, “what makes this bait different is that it has a matrix or a support that has absorbed these natural compounds, and allows them to be released slowly inside the trap, simulating when a person enters a room where there is a mosquito and it is attracted by those odors and chemical compounds that are actually generated by us as human beings. In the home, it can work with the help of traps to capture these mosquitoes, without having to use any type of aerosol or electric traps that affect health and the environment”.

This is the result of the articulation of several disciplines of knowledge of the UIS, which was born thanks to the interest and commitment of professors Débora Alcida Nabarlatz, from the School of Chemical Engineering, Héctor Julio Parra, from the School of Industrial Design and Jonny Edward Duque Luna, from the School of Medicine.

This project counted with the participation of José Gabriel López Ortiz, chemical engineer, during his master’s degree work in Chemical Engineering; Sergio Julián Ruiz Vita and Leidy Katherine Trespalacios Arias, alumni of Chemical Engineering, and Jessica Juliana Rincón Mora and Harry Jordán Hernández, alumni of Industrial Design.

According to José Gabriel López Ortiz, a chemical engineer alumni of the UIS and one of the inventors of this patent, one of the premises of this bait is that it is made with natural compounds acquired in the region, such as jute, which opens an immense opportunity of not having to import these compounds from other countries. “Being able to have those baits made with local compounds or products will make it more economical and competitive at a global level, plus it has the support of research and all the scientific knowledge, and this is a winning formula in the market.”

It is expected that the traps that use this bait can be used not only by researchers and experts in vector control, but that they can also reach the entire population that wants to have in their homes a control and elimination system of these vectors, easy to use, economical and friendly to their health and the environment. This new formula was compared in the laboratory with other commercial baits and attractants, where it was able to demonstrate greater performance and adaptability to different circumstances. “This new patent has a history in relation to what we have been working on for several years, which is to find clean vector control systems that do not contaminate and do not cause problems to living beings. This bait can be used in any trap as long as it is intended for hematophagous insects, in fact, it has already been evaluated also with the vector of dengue, chagas, and the sandflies that transmit leishmaniasis,” added Professor Jonny Edward Duque Luna, from the School of Medicine and director of the Center for Research in Tropical Diseases (Cintrop) of the UIS.

image showing the device and team of researchers and professionals
Team of professionals who made the device possible