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Young Omani inventors introduce Omaneem, a natural insecticide


The neem tree has proven to be a botanical marvel revered for centuries for its extensive significance, not just for medicine but for a diverse range of human uses. In the annals of Indian folklore, it is known as the "village pharmacy" and the "cure-all" tree.

Boasting an impressive pharmacopoeia, its leaves, seeds, bark, and oil contain a myriad of active compounds that traditional practitioners have harnessed for treating ailments ranging from skin infections to digestive disorders.

In Oman, a team of young Omanis succeeded in creating a natural insecticide out of the seeds of the neem tree.

A portmanteau of "Oman" and "neem", Omaneem is generated from the neem seeds and then mixed with other essential oils and other plant extracts to create the insecticide. This insecticide expels and kills all types of mosquitoes efficiently and quickly.

The idea came after the rapid spread of different types of mosquitoes, and most importantly the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which causes yellow fever, Zika disease, dengue fever, and other health diseases.

The team shared that Omaneem is best used during the mosquito season and would help well the visitors going to Dhofar for the Khareef season, when mosquitoes are reportedly causing issues for campers and visitors.

According to the team, the product has been developed to get rid of mosquitoes in natural and safe ways for humans and the environment.

They shared that before Omaneem, many people resorted to using harmful pesticides and chemicals to get rid of mosquitoes. The team noted that it is not friendly to humans, and usually causes chest pain and allergies.

After conducting research in laboratories, the research team, led by Ali Al-Busaidi, concluded that the ingredients and active substances in the neem tree can be used to expel and kill mosquitoes. The extract is more efficient if it is from the neem seeds.

“We found that this pesticide has a strong effect on mosquitoes and does not carry any harm either to humans or the environment”, Ali Al-Busaidi said.

The main objective of creating this natural insecticide is to solve the health, environmental, and economic problems caused by mosquitoes in Omani society.

“As young people in Oman, we have a responsibility to contribute to the overall wellness of society. By coming up with this environmentally and human-friendly product, we are able to contribute in our own little way," Al Busaidi said.

"What's even better is that we extracted it from something that's already growing in Oman, and with a focus on local production, we are able to do more," he added.

The team said that they hope to address some issues, like specialized equipment, in order to mass produce the product.

“We double-checked the efficiency of this product by testing it many times in the laboratories, and we experience its efficiency as well in practice in different areas here in Oman”, Al-Busaidi added.

Internationally, scientists have discovered neem's potential to combat malaria, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and even exhibit anti-cancer properties. These findings have sparked interest worldwide, leading to ongoing investigations into the tree's potential as a source of novel therapeutic agents.

Farmers, in some parts of the world, also already employ neem-based formulations to protect crops, safeguarding both the environment and human health. As the world grapples with concerns surrounding the impact of synthetic chemicals, the neem tree's biopesticidal properties offer an eco-friendly and sustainable solution.

Currently, the team is working hard to find ways to mass produce the product and sell it in the market.

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