Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Natural Repellant Found as Effective as Deet

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Ixodes scapularis, the black-legged or deer tick (photo from Michigan State University)

a news release of the Entomological Society of America

Isolongifolenone, a natural compound found in the Tauroniro tree, also known as Bastard Bulletwood, 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 authors found that isolongifolenone deters the biting of two kinds of mosquitoes more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methyl benzamide) in laboratory bioassays. Furthermore, it repelled blacklegged ticks and lone star ticks as effectively as DEET. The two species most repelled are Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles stephensi Liston.

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.

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 full text of the article is available at The Entomological Society of America, with a subscription.
See Big Mosquitoes are Safer Mosquitoes
See Researchers Put the Bite on Mosquitoes


Bonnie Story said...

Very cool find!! Having just left a tick and Lyme hotbed, ticks are still very much on my mind. I'm doing the full-body anti-flea and ticks drops on my dog... hope it's OK. Now with this discovery, maybe there is abetter way coming soon. Watch "Big Pharma" try to squash this development, much as they have squashed the natural alternative to Methyl Bromide for soil sterilization... it's made with apricot pits and could gain traction if the marketplace was truly fair, which it ain't. Gotta chuckle at the name of the tree!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Bonnie- Thanks for the comment. I'm not so crazy about DEET so I try to post other possibilities when they come up.