CSIR scientists develop affordable, eco-friendly mosquito repellant herbal candles

New Delhi: Scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat (CSIR-NEIST) have developed candles with herbal extracts that possess mosquito repellent properties.

Mosquito repellents currently used for domestic purposes are mainly synthetic products and are not considered for sustained use.

Dr Jatin Kalita, research planning and business development head of CSIR-NEIST, said, “Currently used mosquito repellants are mostly synthetic pyrethroids which are less harmful than general insecticides but still are not totally safe for prolonged use.  Therefore, efforts have been made to prepare safer mosquito repellent in different forms.”

The new product may be useful for rural areas as wax candles are commonly used by rural population as alternate light sources. Therefore, an attempt was made to prepare wax candles having mosquito repellent properties. Easily available non-toxic herbal sources have been used as ingredients of mosquito repellent.

On burning, the candle emits a pleasant fragrance and provides considerable protection from mosquitoes. It is an affordable and environment-friendly product as no chemical or synthetic constituents are used.

Mosquito repellent candle may be used for a room of 10 feet by 15 feet size during evening hours to repel mosquitoes from houses. It can also be used at any of time of the night when mosquitoes are present indoors. The candle can also be used as air freshener, as it gives pleasant fragrance during burning. 

Earlier CSIR-NEIST had developed mosquito repellent herbal incense sticks (agarbatti) from indigenous plant materials. For making such sticks, initial input cost is lower as no special frames are needed to prepare the stick as compared to mosquito repellent coils used for a similar purpose. The incense sticks have been made available commercially.

Recently the technology for mosquito repellent candles has been transferred to industry. There are four firms that have shown interest and bought the technology from CSIR-NEIST. These are DSP Agrofoods & Chemical Industries, Hyderabad, Medtronic Biolead Systems, Telangana, Kudos Laboratories India, New Delhi and Sewali Home Enterprise, Jorhat. “As the product is in commercialization phase soon we can have these candles in the market and they will be available for public use,” said Dr Kalita.

Jyoti Singh is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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