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Tick repellent multifunctional protective textile materials

The main objective of the project is the development of novel multifunctional textile structures that include biological active compounds extracted from plants, to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases like borreliosis and other tick-borne bacterial diseases.

The main objective of the project is the development of new multifunctional textile structures that include biological active compounds extracted from plants, to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases like Borreliosis and other tick-borne bacterial diseases. The natural compounds will be encapsulated into polymeric matrices to extend their repellency over a long time exposure and provide a controlled release of active compounds. The tick-borne, multisystemic disease, borreliosis caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi became a major public health problem in the Central and Eastern European countries. Over the last 30 years, the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) morbidity increased by 400%. Despite extensive researches to find treatment to heal Lyme infection, no cure was found until now, up to 35% of the infected people not responding to treatment or relapsing in the shortest time-frame. In fact, according to the World Health Organization 35-58% of TBE patients suffer long-term neurological problems, such as various cognitive or neuropsychiatric complaints, balance disorders, headache, dysphasia, hearing defects, and spinal paralysis, and 2% die from the disease. The spirochetes that cause Lyme are stealth pathogens-they can hide within cells or alter their form so that antibiotics cannot affect them. A tick bite may deliver not only Borrelia but also co-infections which further complicate the treatment and increase the cost of Health Insurance System. As an example, in Germany, the expected overall cost for analyses only is estimated to be at 51,215,105C every 2 years. It is an urgent need to find novel protective methods that can prevent or minimize the risks of the bites of these deadly insects, and consequently contributing to improvement of human health in Europe. The main objective of the Ticotex project is to identify new natural active compounds that will be suitable for impregnation into clothing textiles against ticks. To achieve the proposed target, the following S&T objectives will be pursued: -preparation of new biologically active compounds, effective against Ixodes species as a real alternative to currently used insecticides characterized by high toxicity and low efficiency against ticks. We expect that these low cost extracts (based on blends of different vegetable materials, avoiding the high cost of accurate separation of expensive components) will contribute to significantly reduce the cost of the preparations, fostering their usage in several applications. One of the main innovations of the project will be the development of a technology to extract, blend and mix components compatibly based on continuous extraction of complex plants eventual assisted by CO2 in supercritical conditions; -development of cost-effective, reproducible and easily up-scalable encapsulation system to active active compounds. The main innovation will enable controlled release of active compounds to increase the efficacy of the chemical repellent against ticks without having to increase their concentrations, thus preventing the toxic effect of molecules on humans; -development of new applications for embedding microcapsules on textile surfaces ensuring flexible, uniform, breathable and long lasting repellent coating layers; -repellency evaluation: repellency bioassay to determine the most promissory compounds and repellent textiles based on ticks mortality. Duration of repellency will be assessed at wearing, rubbing, perspiration and washing and compared with the repellency of textiles impregnated with citronella and N,N'-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (Deet). -validation of the technologies at lab and industrial scale. This objective includes both the validation of the developed functions in the different product concepts as well as the development of different required test methods which do not yet exist. Scientific and technological objectives are to be achieved with the effort of a multidisciplinary Consortium including SMEs and research organizations representing the whole value chain from plant extraction, microencapsulation \and repellent textiles manufacturing. The consortium is comprised by representatives with sound knowledge in the key disciplines and technologies related with Tickotex activities. The consortium includes partners from 3 Eureka countries, that cover highly exposed areas to tick attacks. The participants include: 6 SMEs - 1 SME specialized in extraction, purification, characterization of natural compounds from plants, 2 SMEs manufacturers of textiles, 2 SMEs specialized in finishing of textiles, 1 SME specialized in manufacturing of knitted structures; 1 university and 1 research instituted of textile structures. Repellency tests against species of Ixodes ticks will be conducted by Prague National Public Health Institute, that will help validating the efficiency of natural extracts.
Acronym: 
TICKOTEX
Project ID: 
8 083
Start date: 
01-01-2014
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 810 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Textiles Technology
Market Area: 
Clothing, shoes and accessories (including jewellery)

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.