Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Natural Product Studies of U. S. Endangered Plants: Volatile Fraction of Lindera melissifolia (lauraceae) repels Mosquitoes and Ticks

item Oh, Joonseok
item Bowling, John
item Carroll, John
item Leininger, Theodor
item Demirci, Betul
item Can Baser, K. Husnu
item Bernier, Ulrich - Uli
item Hamann, Mark

Submitted to: Bioresource Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/2012
Publication Date: 6/14/2012
Publication URL:
Citation: Oh, J., Bowling, J., Carroll, J.F., Leininger, T.D., Demirci, B., Can Baser, K., Bernier, U.R., Hamann, M.T.2012. Natural product studies of U.S. endangered plants: volatile fraction of lindera melissifolia (lauraceae) repels mosquitoes and ticks. Bioresource Technology. 80:28-36.

Interpretive Summary: Tick- and mosquito-borne diseases pose a serious threat to humans throughout much of the habitable world. Repellents provide a critical means of personal protection against their bites. Trees and shrubs are a rich source of bioactive chemicals. The essential oil and extracts of the fruit of pondberry, an endangered species of aromatic shrub that occurs in the Gulf Coast region, were analyzed to ascertain their constituent chemicals and were evaluated for repellent activity against ticks and mosquitoes in laboratory bioassays. Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks), lone star ticks, and yellow fever mosquitoes were repelled by pondberry extracts. These findings are of interest to the EPA, chemists, researchers investigating tick and mosquito repellents, and to manufacturers developing repellent products.

Technical Abstract: The number of endangered plant species in the United States is significant yet studies aimed towards utilizing these plants are limited. Ticks and mosquitoes are hematophagous vectors for significant pathogenic diseases and key measures to lower their associated morbidity rates include the use of personal repellents. The essential oil and solvent extracts from Lindera melissifolia drupes were gathered and analyzed by GC/GC-MS. The essential oil obtained from this endangered plant showed a significant dose dependent repellency of ticks and a moderate mosquito repellent effect while the subsequent hexanes extract was completely ineffective. Fractional freezing was employed to enrich the tick repellent components of the essential oil. Several known tick repellent components were recognized by the GC-MS comparison of the resulting fractions and ß-caryophyllene, a-humulene, bornyl acetate, germacrene D and ß-elemene were shown to be untested components with possible impact on tick repellency. Identifying pondberry as a potential renewable source for broad spectrum repellent supports efforts to conserve similar U.S. endangered or threatened plant species.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page