Science

Scientists have developed a wearable ring that repels insects

Scientists have developed a wearable ring that repels insects

Scientists have developed a wearable ring that repels insects

This is what a ring looks like that could help repel insects. Credits: Uni Halle / Fanfan Du

A new printable and wearable insect repellent.

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) scientists have invented a new type of delivery device that repels insects. The active ingredient is first “encapsulated” and shaped into a suitable shape, such as a ring, which can then be worn and releases an agent intended to repel mosquitoes for a longer period of time. The team published their findings in International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

The researchers used the “IR3535” insect repellent developed by MERCK to create their prototypes.

“Mosquito sprays containing IR3535 are very gentle on the skin and have been used worldwide for many years. That’s why we used the agent for our experiments,” says Professor René Androsch from MLU.

It usually comes in the form of a spray or lotion and provides protection for several hours. However, Androsch and his colleagues are looking at methods to release the agent for much longer periods of time, such as encapsulating it in a wearable ring or bracelet.

The insect repellent was carefully incorporated into a biodegradable polymer using specialized 3D printing technology, and the mixture of substances was successfully shaped in a variety of ways. “The basic idea is that the insect repellent continuously evaporates and creates a barrier for the insects,” explains the study’s lead author, Fanfan Du, a PhD student at MLU.

The rate at which an insect repellent evaporates depends on many different factors, including temperature, concentration, and the structure of the polymer used. After conducting various experiments and simulations, the team predicts that the insect repellent takes more than a week to completely evaporate at a temperature of 37°C (98.6°F, i.e. body temperature).

While the researchers have proven that it is absolutely possible to develop a wearable insect repellent, the rings and other shapes created for the study are only prototypes. According to Andros, further research needs to be conducted to determine how well the rings perform in real-world conditions. The encapsulation material could also be further optimized.

Reference: “3D printing of the polymer/insect system poly(l-lactic[{” attribute=””>acid)/ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate (PLLA/IR3535)” by Fanfan Du, Harald Rupp, Katalee Jariyavidyanont, Andreas Janke, Albrecht Petzold, Wolfgang Binder and René Androsch, 14 July 2022, International Journal of Pharmaceutics.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2022.122023

The study was funded by the German Research Foundation and within the framework of the graduate school “AGRIPOLY” at MLU. “AGRIPOLY” is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

 





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