Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2008
Publication Date: 1/1/2009
Citation: Zhang, A., Wang, S., Klun, J.A., Carroll, J.F., and Debboun, M. 2009. Isolongifolenone: A natural sesquiterpene repellent of ticks and mosquitoes. Journal of Medical Entomology. 46(1):100-106. Available www.insectscience.org/9.41.
Interpretive Summary: Human diseases transmitted by blood-feeding mosquitoes and ticks represent a serious threat to public health worldwide. More than 700 million cases of mosquito and tick-transmitted diseases have been reported annually. Over 3 billion people live under the threat of malaria, which kills millions annually. New chemical tools are needed to help protect humans against the mosquitoes and ticks that transmit diseases. We discovered a natural compound called isolongifolenone that has repellent effects against two kinds of mosquitoes and two kinds of ticks. Laboratory assays showed that this compound may have a high potential to be used in the programs aimed at suppressing malaria, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease by fending off blood-feeding mosquitoes and ticks. We believe that the newly discovered properties of the compound gives it good potential as a natural product for further development and eventual safe-clinical usage for protection of humans, especially, for military and general public usage against mosquito, tick, and sand fly bites.
Technical Abstract: A naturally-occurring sesquiterpene, isolongifolenone, derivatives of which have been used extensively as ingredients in the cosmetics industry, was discovered in laboratory bioassays to possess desirable repellent effects against blood-feeding arthropods that vector human diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever, ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. We report that (–) isolongifolenone deters the biting of the yellowfever mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Anopheles stephensi, a mosquito vector of malaria, more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent, Deet. The compound also repelled deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis, and lone star ticks, Amblyomma americanum, as effectively as Deet. Inasmuch as derivatives of isolongifolenone have routinely been used in topically applied cosmetics, we surmise that the compound has good potential for clinical usage as a safe natural-topical repellent to protect humans against blood-feeding arthropods that transmit disease causing organisms.