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Mexico students discover coffee an effective larvicide against mosquitoes

Monterrey, Nuevo León — High school students from the University of Monterrey have discovered that coffee has properties to combat the larvae of the mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as dengue, zika and chikungunya.

This discovery led David Hernández, Adrián Villareal and Vanessa Salazar to win the first place in the National Fair of Science and Engineering 2018. The discovery was made when the sixth semester students sought to create an insecticide that could combat Aedes Aegypti mosquito larvae with the intention of generating an impact in their community.

Adrián Villareal explained that as part of a school project, they wanted to discover “how true it was that drinking coffee in the garden kept mosquitoes away ” so they began to research the claims, which is when they realized that coffee itself is an effective larvicide against mosquitoes.

He said that everything consisted in “seeing if the coffee could become an organic larvicide to control the populations of the aegypti mosquito, which is the one that transmits dengue, zika and chikungunya”.

“At the beginning it started as a project for the school. We remembered that there was an urban legend that said throwing coffee in the garden kept mosquitoes away,” he said.

“We thought there was a certain truth behind the myth and we decided to start investigating. We proved that coffee itself is an effective larvicide against these mosquitoes,” the high school student added.

It was thanks to the work and effort that, together with David Hernández Garza and Vanessa Salazar Balboa, the project “Larvicidal Effect of Coffee (Coffea Arabica Cordoba-caracolillo) Against Mosquitoes (Aedes Aegypti)” was presented.

After their win at the National Science and Engineering Fair 2018, the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) selected them to represent Mexico in the Intel International Science Fair 2018 (ISEF), contest in which they took fourth place.

The awards ceremony was held May 18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the authorities of Intel ISEF 2018 congratulated them for their innovative research and encouraged them to feed their curiosity in science.

The students said they were very grateful and excited for the experience, both for fourth place, as well as for the research process and the possibility of traveling and getting to know people from other cultures.