By Philip Yatai, Kaduna.
Prof. Zakari Ladan of the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Kaduna State University (KASU), and other co-researchers have developed a mosquito repellent fabric.
In a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of KASU, Adamu Bargo, in Kaduna on Sunday, the institution said that the feat was part of efforts aimed at ending the malaria scourge.
Bargo said that the product was the outcome of the over N27 million Research Grant, given under the 2020 National Research Fund (NRF) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
“This is the first NRF/TETFund grant won by KASU as the host institution, in collaboration with Bingham University and Vaal University of Technology, South Africa,” he said.
He said that the research topic was “Development of an Eco-friendly Mosquito Repellent Fabric, Embedded with Nanoparticles Encapsulated with Vitex Negundo Bioactive Compounds”.
Bargo said that Ladan, the principal researcher, with specialty in organic and synthetic chemistry, conducted the research alongside three others.
The spokesman said that the other researchers were Dr Bamidele Okoli, an organic chemist from Bingham University, Dr Uju Ejike, a biochemist from Bingham University and Dr Mthunzi Fanyana, an expert in nanotechnology from Vaal University of Technology, South Africa.
Bargo said that nightwear could be produced from the fabric, rather than relying on the continuous use of chemical insecticides or mosquito-treated nets with synthetic chemicals to ward off mosquitoes.
He said that the fabric was embedded with nanoparticles, encapsulated with Vitex Negundo bioactive compounds, for the control of mosquitoes.
“The research is focused on producing a mosquito-repellent fabric, embedded with nanoparticles encapsulated with the active constituents of Vitex Negundo bioactive compounds.
“The type of mosquito-repellent fabrics developed from this research is in the form of sleeping nightgowns with other bio-products.
“They include bio-insecticide sprays and repellent creams, formulated with the plant’s bioactive constituent for the control of mosquito bites,” he said.
Bargo said that the grant disbursed under the supervision of Prof. Ben Chindo, Director of Research and Development, KASU, had fulfilled TETFund’s requirements, having achieved the project’s objectives.
He said that the project had achieved its objectives based on the expected outcomes, including the production of the nightgowns from the mosquito repellent fabric.
He also said that the other outcomes included two international conferences and the publishing of seven articles in high-impact factor journals and two conference proceedings.
“The researchers also patented a novel essential oil pilot plant that can isolate aromatic bioactive constituents from plants, useful in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and flavour industries,” he said.
Besides, Bargo said that an NRF/TETFund Workshop was organised at Bingham University, Karu, on the theme: “Malaria Prevention and Control Measures: Using Some Plant Bioactive Constituents Found in North Central Geo-political Zone of Nigeria.”
“Five different products were formulated, using isolated bioactive constituents of Vitex Negundo plant, namely; mosquito repellent cream and pure eucalyptus oil,” he said.
He listed the other products as aerosol sprays, mosquito repellent spray — fitted with fan and gloss — and water-based mosquito repellent paint.