Biodegradable mosquito trap - latest weapon against the spread of dengue fever

A biodegradable mosquito trap will soon be the latest weapon against the spread of dengue fever in far North Queensland, Australia.

University of Queensland researchers are working with a biodegradable packaging business, < Plantic>, James Cook University and Queensland Health to design and produce the traps.

Project leader UQ Associate Professor Peter Halley said the environmentally friendly bucket, the size of a golf sand bucket, did not have to be refilled or collected as it would break down.

Plantic’s Business Development Manager Mark Fink said the mosquito trap could be safer and cheaper than current dengue control methods.

Mr Fink said developing the traps would be an 18-month project funded by a Federal Government Biotechnology Innovation Fund grant of $243,000.

As the director of UQ’s Centre for High Performance Polymers, Associate Professor Halley has been involved in the development of Plantic since 1995.

With its credo of ‘plastic from plants’, Plantic was born out of a Co-operative Research Centre in 2002, of which UQ was a key member.

UQ scientists including Associate Professor Rowan Truss, Dr Martin Markotsis and PhD students Celine Chaleat and Melissa Russo are spearheading Plantic’s new materials and prototype products.

Plantic’s first commercial product, a biodegradable packing tray, is used in Cadbury Dairy Milk Trays, Freedom Foods biscuits and other food products.

The glossy, transparent, trays are made from cornstarch and free from genetically modified material.

They are stable in humidity but dissolve in water and will decompose in your garden in a month.

Associate Professor Halley said Plantic was a good story of commercialisation where Australian research was leading the world.

He said other plastic manufacturers such as Cargill-Dow in the United States, Nova Mont in Italy and Mitsui in Japan were developing similar products but did not have a comparable, finished plastic on the market.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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