Published: 11th October 2017
Startup in IIT Madras has new device that mimics body odour to trap Dengue-carrying mosquitoes
The device has been given some human traits to make it more attractive to these disease-spreading mosquitoes
Dengue is on the rise and while The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, just lost a student to dengue, a startup incubated on campus has developed a device that might help control mosquitoes in Chennai. The MGH Labs has developed a mosquito trapper, Bog Orchid, which uses chemicals that mimic human odour.
"This is non-toxic and attracts female mosquitoes to the device which will then catch and kill them. Its efficacy is proven on Aedes mosquitoes, the dengue-spreading mosquitoe," said Gokul Rajasekaran, founder of the lab. The city corporation, faced with the dengue challenge, is now field testing the device in the city.
"We did trails on Greenways Road, Zone1,8 and 10. It has trapped menace causing mosquitoes like Culex and also trapped Aedes mosquitoes. Once we complete our trials, we will submit our findings to upgrade the device," said a corporation health official. The company has developed an indoor and an outdoor version of the device. Guhan Jayaraman, Professor, Department of Biotechnology said, "Many mosquito repellents are available in the market but not mosquito trappers. The trapper will help get rid of the mosquitoes, while the repellent only temporarily chases it away. They are testing the device in the IIT campus and the trail is on.
Only female mosquitoes bite human being for protein in blood so that they can lay eggs. One female mosquito can lay over 3,000 eggs
"Body odour, temperature and exhaled carbon dioxide attract the mosquitoes, so, we have used pheromone in the solution to mimic human body odour, carbon dioxide and LED lights to create human body-like heat," said Gokul Rajasekaran. He adds that all the chemicals used are non-toxic.
The research was funded by the Department of Science and Technology and IIT-M. The product is also tested for efficacy by the TATA Institute in Bangalore. "Once trails are over, we will mass produce it and commercialise," Gokul Rajesekaran said. He also has plans to install the device across IIT Madras campus to make it a mosquito-free zone.