(151a) Enhancement of Van Der Waals Mediated Adhesion of Mosquito Leg to Fibrous Surfaces

Pashazanusi, L. - Presenter, Tulane University
Pesika, N., Tulane University
Kumar, N., Tulane Univeristy
Bansal, G. P., Tulane University
Albert, J., Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases Research Center
Khosla, T., Tulane University
Lwoya, B. S., Tulane University
The aim of our project is to introduce a novel path that can increase the efficiency of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs). LLINs are one of the most effective ways to control and reduce malaria transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquito leg consists of micro-nanostructures which can be exploited to enhance their adhesion to other surfaces. We have identified that increasing the roughness of a LLIN surface enhances the contact area and generates larger adhesion between the net surface and micro-nanostructures present in mosquito leg. This increased duration leads to a greater lethal dose of the insecticide delivered to the mosquito body. We focused our initial efforts in obtaining quantitative data for measuring force of adhesion between the mosquito leg and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) sheets (same as LLIN material) using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Adhesion force between the mosquitoâ??s leg and a flat polyethylene sheet is compared with the force generated between the mosquitoâ??s leg and rough sheets. We create rough polymer surfaces using mechanical drilling. We repeat the experiment for different surface roughness and humidity in order to clarify relative contribution of van der Waals forces compared to capillary forces in providing adhesion of mosquito leg to the surface. We aim to establish a model understanding how mosquitoes adhere to a surface depending on their micro scale roughness.