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Research project that will create future urban outfits that will repel various insects

Tecnalia leads INSEPLATEX project, an ambitious project that will be endeavouring to develop technologies to provide various types of plastics and textiles with repellent or insecticidal effects targeting the main species of insects regarded as urban pests.

This project aims to monitor the activation and service life of biocidal properties in various plastic and textile products, in order to determine specific uses, such as in clothing for professional use (forestry, military, volunteer workers, etc.), and even uses in critical situations (refugee camps, humanitarian crises, earthquakes, etc.). The most important challenge is to develop specific methodologies designed to incorporate biocidal substances into different types of plastics and textiles, which will depend on the type of biocidal substance selected. Two other centres are participating in this Tecnalia-led project: Aimplas and Leitat. Each of the three centres is working on the incorporation of selected biocides into a specific type of material: Aimplas and Tecnalia are working on plastics, and Leitat, textiles. Once the biocide has been incorporated into a product type, the product is tested against the main species of urban pests. For the biological assessment, laboratory tests are carried out using live specimens of the target species (bioassay). The bioassays are run by Tecnalia Biologists and Entomologists with broad experience in the pest and biocide sector, and Tecnalia’s insectary and biological laboratory equipment is turning out to be crucial in this work. For the active biocidal substances, the European Union Directive on Biocides (Directive 98/8/EC) is being applied. The test methods are the ones recommended by the World Health Organisation for assessing insecticides and repellents, even though, should the need arise, Tecnalia develops and validates specific experimental designs. Specific uses are determined for the plastic and textile bio-products yielding positive results in the bioassays. The results (like effectiveness type –insecticide or repellent–, how rapid the effect is, how long it lasts, etc.) determine the type of use. This project is being co-funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

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Spain