Click image for caption and
other photo information.
Above: A new
device that permits researchers to compare five different doses of insect
repellents--along with a control. The device, the K&D Module, was designed
by Drs. Klun and Debboun. (Image courtesy J. Klun. Not available at 300 dpi
Promising New Compound for Fending Off
Insects By Rosalie Marion Bliss
June 2, 2003
A new chemical compound developed cooperatively by scientists
with the Agricultural Research Service
and the U.S. Department of Defense
looks promising as the key active ingredient in new, safe insect repellents for
U.S. military personnel and eventually for the general public. ARS has patented
the new compound, called SS220, and it is currently undergoing toxicology tests
required for registration with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
ARS, USDA's chief in-house
scientific research agency, has several specialized laboratories with expertise
in studying biting insects such as mosquitoes, ticks and flies that can
transmit diseases to humans.
DOD launched a Strategic Technology Objective three years ago to
identify and develop a new standard military insect repellent to replace DEET,
a repellent developed 50 years ago by ARS for the military. DEET is the most
widely used repellent in the world and has prevented uncounted cases of malaria
and other vector-borne diseases in both civilians and military. During the
research project, researchers sought a new repellent effective against a wider
range of mosquito species, and compatible with commonly used plastics such as
in eyeglass frames and military equipment.
The Strategic Technology Objective involved representatives of
of Entomology of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, Md., and ARS'
Chemicals Affecting Insect Behavior Laboratory (CAIBL), which is part of the ARS
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.)
Agricultural Research Center.
Entomologist Jerome A. Klun, who heads the CAIBL team working
with the military's infectious disease research program, collaborated with
WRAIR's Mustapha Debboun, a medical entomologist, to develop a clear,
six-chamber device with which to safely screen candidate compounds on human
volunteers' skin. Preliminary laboratory tests involved the controlled release
of lab-reared, disease-free mosquitoes over treated skin to demonstrate the
compound's protective qualities. The team will now test the ingredient's
staying power through vigorous activity and exposure to water in the field. The
initiative aims to further refine the cosmetic aspects of SS220 formulations.
SS220 is a highly effective chemical compound, called a stereo
isomer, which Klun isolated from a mixture of compounds that was first
synthesized by ARS scientists in 1978. CAIBL's chemical team developed a
three-step process which led to preparation of large quantities of SS220
required for testing.
The ARS Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) will license the USDA technology under
policies set forth in the Federal Technology Transfer Act. Companies interested
in licensing this USDA technology can obtain a license application online or
from the OTT.