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Sunday, October 29, 2006

TAC biolarvicide 'eliminates' chikungunya

Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited hopes that its product - TACBIIO-Bti, (Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis), an effective biolarvicide, would be used by the public health departments throughout the country to eliminate chikungunya- and dengue-causing mosquito at the larvae stage.

Field trials of the product developed at the Rs 8.6 crore TAC plant in Chembarambakkam, near Chennai, have proved 100 per cent effective, said S Chandramohan, TAC managing director.

Only 10-15 per cent of the plant's capacity was now being used by the public health sector though a litre of the biolarvicide would cost only Rs 800. The plant could produce the one lakh litres of the product required by the public health department to be used in large water-stagnant areas like tanks.

Chandramohan said his company had made a presentation to Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss following successful trials. He was confident that the Union Health Department would go in for the product to be used throughout the country as it was not expensive. Secondly, prevention was better than cure.

During 1997, TAC established the country's first Bioproducts Unit at Chembarambakkam, on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway, with capital expenditure of Rs 8.60 crore. The unit comprises the main plant, supporting offsites and utilities facilities and a well-equipped, modern quality control laboratory. The heart of the main processing plant includes state-of-the art Fermenters (electropolished SS-316 vessels) designed and imported from Bio-Engineering Company, Switzerland, along with sophisticated 'SCADA' control system.

The facility is designed to manufacture 90,000 litres per annum of environment-friendly biopesticides for pest control in the agricultural sector and biolarvicides for mosquito control in the public health sector. These products were developed and given by the Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University, Chennai, Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry, and TAC's own in-house R&D.


TACBIIO-Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis) is an effective biolarvicide to kill larvae belonging to anopheles species (causing malaria), aedes species (causing dengue fever and chikungunya) and culex species (causing filaria).

Being a biological larvicide, it does not harm human beings, wildlife, fishes, beneficial predatory insects or the environment at large, Chandramohan said.

Apart from being eco-friendly, this product can be used in areas where chemical larvicides could not be used due to resistance, hazardous to non-target species such as fish and risk of contamination.

This product, after dilution with water (1:50), can be sprayed in polluted rivers, choked drains, stagnant pool and other mosquito-breeding areas. Immediately after spraying, the mosquito larve start eating the product. Following ingestion, the end-toxin crystals are activated by the gut fluids. In the active form, the toxins rapidly attack the gut wall. Lesions in the wall lead to paralysis and death of the larvae within 24 hrs of ingestion.

The product TACBIIO-BTI has a permanent registration with the Central Insecticides Board (CIB) both for local use and export, under Section 9 (3) of the Insecticides Act 1968. Since September 1998, TAC has marketed around 30,000 litres of the product to the municipal corporations of Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Bhiwandi and Kozhikode along with some municipalities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The biolarvicides were found to be very effective, he added.

Recently, the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) at Rourkela along with the Rourkela Municipality and the District Malarial Officer, Rourkela, conducted a long-term study starting from June 2005 to July 2006 on the efficacy of the product. A 100 per cent mortality was observed during the field trials. This report was forwarded by NIMR to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Despite its effectiveness and the eco-friendly nature, the actual usage of the product has been quite disappointing, said Pal Jayaseelan, the company's microbiologist.

When the company approached the public health departments in the various municipalities and corporations, for using the product for combating the various kinds of mosquitoes at the larve stage itself, the usual explanation was that enough money was not available in the budget to purchase the material, he added.

Even big municipal corporations like Chennai bought only 1,000 to 1,500 litres of biolarvicide that too once in two or three years, despite mosquito breeding in every available place in the city. The total cost of about one lakh litres would come only to around Rs 8 crore, which was a considrerably lower amount than what is being spent by the local bodies to tackle the diseases.

Source: Chennai Online

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's an American charity that's trying to fight chikungunya in India, Direct Relief International. Check out their site on the disease: