Mangrove Leaf Insect Repellent

The Problem

Disease-carrying mosquitoes are a major problem in Ghana, specifically Aedes Aegypti (can spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika, and other viruses), Anopheles Stephensi (malaria), and Culex Quinquefasciatus (filarial disease) [1]. Many disease-carrying species, particularly aedes aegypti, are resistant to common insecticides including pyrethroids and carbamates [2]. A study conducted in Ghana showed that 96-97% resistant to bendiocarb, 90-96% resistant to permethrin, 91-96% resistant to deltamethrin but is susceptible to organophosphates [2]. Additionally, insecticides are toxic to humans with organophosphates causing 300,000 deaths globally each year [3, 4].

Our Solution

We propose creating a natural, eco-friendly mosquito repellent using mangrove leaf extract that targets disease-carrying mosquitoes in Ghana. Through our preliminary research, we discovered that red mangrove extract is repellent and larvicidal against the main disease-carrying mosquitoes present in Ghana, including those that carry yellow fever, malaria, and filarial disease. A mosquito repellent using mangrove extract has been manufactured in Australia, but this product was specifically formulated for Australian mosquitoes and sandflies showing it is as effective as DEET and nontoxic [5]. We would develop a repellent that could be manufactured on-site in Ghana, using an extract from the red mangroves grown in the region and other common materials for the extraction and manufacturing process [6]. We are also looking into using a similar process to create a mosquito larvicide from the mangrove extract.