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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #365794

Research Project: Integrated Management of Stable Flies

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: The coconut oil-derived repellent compounds with better effectiveness and longevity than DEET against blood-sucking insects

item Zhu, Junwei - Jerry
item Cermak, Steven - Steve
item Kenar, James - Jim

Submitted to: American Chemistry Society Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/6/2019
Publication Date: 8/25/2019
Citation: Zhu, J.J., Cermak, S.C., Kenar, J.A. 2019. The coconut oil-derived repellent compounds with better effectiveness and longevity than DEET against blood-sucking insects. American Chemistry Society Abstracts. 2019.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Blood-sucking insects, including biting flies and mosquitoes, are capable of transmitting human and animal pathogens worldwide. Currently, repellents are considered as one of the most primary preventative tools for reducing the impact of biting insects on humans and animals. DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), the most effective repellent available commercially for over half a decade, has long been considered the gold standard in insect repellents, but with reported human health issues, particularly for infants and pregnant women. Plant-based materials have been reported with insecticidal and repellent properties for over two millennia in ancient history. However, the biggest shortcoming from nearly all repellents derived from plant essential oils has only limited residual activity, which is primarily due to their high volatility. DEET with over 30% of centration may provide up to 10 hours of protection against mosquitoes, in relative to plant-based repellents lasting about 4-6 hours maximum. There is considerable interest in developing plant-based repellents with greater efficacy and extended residual activity due to increasing regulations and growing negative public perceptions against synthetic repellents like DEET. Recent years, several natural product-based repellent compounds have been discovered against blood sucking insects with promising outcomes in veterinary and public health fields, but those repellent compounds are short-lived in their effectiveness outdoors. Therefore, it is necessary to discover and explore more resources/compounds of plant origins with extended longevity. In this presentation, I will share some recent developments of several natural product-based repellent compounds identified from coconut oil, which can provide repellency lasting up to 2 weeks against several types of blood-sucking insects, including biting flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs. Some of these compounds’ derivatives also act as strong insecticides that further inhibit insect larval growth and deters female oviposition.