Innovative Israeli Discovery: A Natural Solution to Ward Off Mosquitoes

Israeli researchers at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University have made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize how we protect ourselves against mosquito bites. They’ve developed a safe, new method using a natural skin coating derived from cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), which has the potential to reduce mosquito bites and their associated health risks significantly.

The study, published in PNAS NEXUS, reveals that applying a thin CNC coating on human skin decreased mosquito feeding by a staggering 80%. CNCs, produced from cellulose-rich sources like wood and cotton, are renewable raw materials commonly used in cosmetics, composites, food packaging, and medical devices.

Lead researcher Prof. Jonathan Bohbot of Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics explains that when CNCs are combined with mosquito-repellent indole, they create a highly effective and sustainable method for mosquito prevention. This novel approach has the potential to pave the way for a new generation of eco-friendly personal protective measures against mosquitoes.

Unlike conventional protection methods, such as synthetic non-odorant N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), or natural odorants like geraniol and citronella, CNCs offer a more effective and longer-lasting solution. Researchers found that CNCs seem to act as a chemical camouflage, making it more difficult for mosquitoes to detect their targets.

The innovative method was tested on a human hand and an artificial feeding system by assessing the number of eggs laid after feeding with and without CNC. The results were astonishing: the combined effect of CNC and indole reduced egg laying almost to zero, with a 99.4% decrease in eggs compared to the control group.

This groundbreaking discovery not only highlights the ingenuity of Israeli researchers but also showcases the country’s commitment to finding sustainable and eco-friendly solutions to global problems. The State of Israel continues to be a powerhouse of innovation, driven by its dedication to improving the lives of its citizens and the wider world. This breakthrough serves as yet another testament to Israel’s values of promoting progress and making the world a better place for all.