Topical gel protects farmers from pesticides

Prelims level : Biotech Mains level : GS – III
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Using easily available, inexpensive natural polymers a gel for the skin to protect agricultural workers from harmful pesticide sprays has been developed. The gel does not just act as a simple physical barrier; it chemically deactivates pesticides.

Ripple effect

Organophosphate pesticides bring about the inhibition of important enzymes (AChE) of the body, which can, in turn, affect the functioning of nervous system, heart, immunity, and even the reproductive system

The base of the gel is chitosan, a natural substance extracted from the waste shells of crabs and shrimps, to which we added a nucleophile and few aqua reagents to get the consistency and desired pH.

The gel was found to cleave a wide range of commercially available pesticides before they enter the bloodstream, thus reducing the pesticide-induced enzyme inhibition

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