The development of pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes threatens the goal of malaria elimination in Africa. Alternative insecticides, e.g. organophosphates, can be considered to control pyrethroid resistant mosquitoes. The problem associated with the deployment of organophosphate-based insecticides is their high volatility. Conventional application forms have a fairly short residual efficacy. This study aimed at extending the residual efficacy of an organophosphate insecticide by using a polymer matrix as a slow release device. A multilayer film blower was used to produce a trilayer film. The middle layer comprised poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate), i.e. EVA polymer, impregnated with malathion. This was sandwiched by two low density polyethylene (LDPE) outer layers. These acted as semi-permeable membrane-like barriers that slowed down the release of the contact insecticide to the surfaces of the film. In theory, such a film could be deployed as a long-lasting insecticide-treated wall lining in pyrethroid resistant settings. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) confirmed the trilayer film structure of the blown film. The malathion release from the film was tracked with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The malathion absorption band in the FTIR spectra disappeared gradually over time. Confocal Raman analysis showed a malathion concentration gradient across the thickness of the polyethylene layers. These results suggested diffusion-controlled transport through the LDPE membranes. Bioassays indicated that the residual efficacy of the malathion, against mosquitoes, was increased to about six months. This means that trilayer films, impregnated with an organophosphate, may have potential as alternative mosquito control interventions in pyrethroid resistant settings.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2018.