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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367171

Research Project: Cotton-based Nonwovens

Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research

Title: Functional assessment of biodegradable cotton nonwoven substrates permeated with spatial insect repellents for disposable applications

item Hron, Rebecca
item Hinchliffe, Doug
item Santiago Cintron, Michael
item Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken
item Condon, Brian

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2020
Publication Date: 1/20/2021
Citation: Hron, R.J., Hinchliffe, D.J., Santiago Cintron, M., Linthicum, K., Condon, B.D. 2021. Functional assessment of biodegradable cotton nonwoven substrates permeated with spatial insect repellents for disposable applications. Textile Research Journal. 91(13-14):1578-1593.

Interpretive Summary: Mosquito-borne diseases are responsible for millions of deaths annually on a global scale. Preventative measures often include the use of repellent chemicals, which can have undesired consequences if directly applied to the skin. One approach to this dilemma is to apply the repellent to an adhesive, disposable patch. The majority of disposable substrates on the market are non-biodegradable, petroleum-based synthetics. Cotton based nonwovens are a sustainable and biodegradable alternative. However, it is largely unknown how the volatilization of mosquito repellent compounds, such as essential oils, from cotton nonwovens compares to that of popular synthetic fabrics. We found that although small differences in the vaporization properties of essential oils from cotton and synthetics exist, they preform comparably in mosquito landing/biting tests. Thus, cotton based nonwovens could provide a sustainable, biodegradable and cost effective option for disposable mosquito repellent patches and other insect repellent technologies.

Technical Abstract: Arboviral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are a major health concern worldwide responsible for millions of deaths annually. Spatial repellents have been used as prophylactic measures via direct application or disposable devices. Naturally derived, plant-based repellents are safe, effective alternatives to synthetic repellents and may be applied to disposable substrates including adhesive patches. Many disposables are composed of synthetic petrochemical-based polyester and polypropylene nonwoven fabrics, contributing to growing concern surrounding microplastic pollution. Sustainable and biodegradable substrates including those made from cotton are cost effective and environmentally friendly. Therefore, we explored the utilization of cotton-based substrates for application of natural spatial and synthetic contact insect repellents. Cotton fibers used in the study were commercially available greige cotton, scoured and bleached greige cotton and reginned greige cotton motes, a value-added byproduct of the ginning process. Synthetic polyester and polypropylene were used for comparison. TG/DTG in combination with DSC were used to discern vaporization properties of repellents from the substrates. Retention times of repellents on the substrates were analyzed using a FTIR focal plane array detector and compared to the TG/DTG and DSC data. Mosquito landing assays confirmed the feasibility of using cotton-based substrates treated with plant-based spatial repellents as an effective and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic materials.