A natural, alternative insect repellent to DEET

Feb 05, 2009

Isolongifolenone, a natural compound found in the Tauroniro tree (Humiria balsamifera) of South America, has been found to effectively deter biting of mosquitoes and to repel ticks, both of which are known spreaders of diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease.

Derivatives of isolongifolenone have been widely and safely used as fragrances in cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants, and paper products, and new processing methods may make it as cheap to produce as DEET. The results of this research are presented in the latest issue of Journal of Medical Entomology in an article by Aijun Zhang et. al titled "Isolongifolenone: A Novel Sesquiterpene Repellent of Ticks and Mosquitoes."

The authors found that isolongifolenone deters the biting of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles stephensi Liston more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent N,N-diethyl-3-methyl benzamide (DEET) in laboratory bioassays. Furthermore, it repelled blacklegged ticks and lone star ticks as effectively as DEET.

Since "isolongifolenone is easily synthesized from inexpensive turpentine oil feedstock," the authors write, "we are therefore confident that the compound has significant potential as an inexpensive and safe repellent for protection of large human populations against blood-feeding arthropods."

In addition, a new, patented method developed by the authors to efficiently produce isolongifolenone would make it even more cost effective.

Source: Entomological Society of America

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

12 hours ago

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

13 hours ago

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

13 hours ago

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2009
"In addition, a new, patented method developed by the authors to efficiently produce isolongifolenone would make it even more cost effective."

Ooops! The kicker is obvious. Money!
Velanarris
4 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2009
Yes, but does it repel all of the over 600 species of mosquitoes known to harbor and spread human disease? DEET has been established as effective against all arthropods and has supplanted the more damaging DDT. If this stuff works as well as DEET then I'm all for it, otherwise a more comprehensive solution will be needed before DEET comes off the market.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.