Scientific Reports: Mustard Seed Flour Kills 100% of Mosquito Larvae
American scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have created an effective mosquito repellent from ordinary mustard. It turned out to be safe for people and nature, but deadly for parasite larvae. The report was published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
Entomologists have studied natural substances to control the population of blood-sucking insects that spread various infections. Specialists drew attention to isothiocyanates, a group of chemicals found in mustard seeds.
The researchers turned into flour the grains of four species of plants of the mustard family – Russian mustard, white mustard, yarutka and watercress. Varying concentrations of the powder were then added to small glasses of water containing Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae, which can transmit dengue, Zika, yellow fever and other pathogens.
Of all the mustards, watercress was the most deadly to mosquitoes. The flour from its grains destroyed 95% of the larvae in just 24 hours, and 100% in less than two days.
Mustard could be a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic insecticides, which can be obtained from the by-products of processing plants into oils and spices, scientists say.