Science students at the University of Monterrey have pointed to a new weapon in the fight against dengue, zika and chikungunya.
That weapon is coffee, which they found has properties that combat mosquito larvae.
The finding impressed judges enough to give David Hernández Garza, Adrián Villareal Castillo and Vanessa Salazar Balboa a first-place prize in Mexico’s 2018 National Science and Engineering Fair.
It all started when the three students in the school’s San Pedro Unit started a project to create an insecticide against the larvae of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, reported Notimex.
Villareal Castillo explained that everything consisted in “seeing if the coffee could become an organic larvicide to control the populations of 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 that throwing coffee in the garden does away with mosquitoes,” 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,” said Villareal Castillo.
Together, the trio presented “Larvicidal Effect of Coffee (Coffea arabica cordoba-caracolillo) Against Mosquito (Aedes aegypti).”
After the triumph at the science fair, the National Council of Science and Technology selected them to represent Mexico in the 2018 Intel International Science Fair in Pittsburgh on May 18.
Their hard work and innovation paid off when they placed fourth against more than 1,700 participants from 75 countries.
On this achievement, the youths said they were very grateful and excited over the experience, both for winning fourth place, as well as for the research process and the possibility of traveling and getting to know people from other cultures.