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More effective than DEET


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#1 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:19 AM

Three natural products have been found to be more effective mosquito repellents than DEET.

Isolation and Identification of Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) Biting Deterrent Fatty Acids from Male Inflorescences of Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg)

Dried male inflorescences of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae) are burned in communities throughout Oceania to repel flying insects, including mosquitoes. This study was conducted to identify chemicals responsible for mosquito deterrence. Various crude extracts were evaluated, and the most active, the hydrodistillate, was used for bioassay-guided fractionation. The hydrodistillate and all fractions displayed significant deterrent activity. Exploratory GC-MS analysis revealed more than 100 distinctive peaks, and more than 30 compounds were putatively identified, including a mixture of terpenes, aldehydes, fatty acids, and aromatics. A systematic bioassay-directed study using adult Aedes aegypti females identified capric, undecanoic, and lauric acid as primary deterrent constituents. A synthetic mixture of fatty acids present in the most active fraction and individual fatty acids were all significantly more active than N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET). These results provide support for this traditional practice and indicate the potential of male breadfruit flowers and fatty acids as mosquito repellents.


Protection Times of Tested Mosquito Repellents currently on the market.


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#2 Alchemist

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:39 AM

Capric acid... I had to double-check to make sure it was what the name suggested. (Also known as decanoic acid).

From Wikipedia: "The term capric acid arises from the Latin "capric" which pertains to goats due to their olfactory similarities".

Don't much care for appying DEET (I'd rather swat mosquitoes, even in the NH woods), but I'm pretty sure I don't want to smell like goat.

#3 Ooky

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:37 PM

If it truly worked better, I'd prefer capric acid to DEET mainly because when I use DEET, it is to limit exposure to bubonic plague and other baddies. In which case who cares what I smell like! This doesn't talk about fleas, only mosquitos, still when I travel in the tropics, there are lots of mosquito borne diseases I also want nothing to do with. I will say that I have applied DEET (and all manner of other "natural" repellants) before, only to watch a mosquito fly over and inspect a person in my group who did NOT apply DEET, decide against them, and actually come over to ME and bite me through the DEET. So some of us must be even more delicious than DEET is...not delicious. I have gotten some in my mouth by accident and it really is NOT delicious at ALL.

-ooky
+Odin (5 yr BC), Dr. Benway (14? yr ocicat), a whole lotta fish, and my 3-yo human


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#4 Alchemist

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:34 PM

Ooky - are mosquitoes vectors for bubonic plague?!? I'm probably ignorant, but I'd thought that was spread by fleas (read: ground squirrels, rats, etc.).

To be sure, if we were in the midst of mosquito-borne encephalitis outbreaks (or West Nile Virus, or other mosquito-borne diseases - heartworm in the case of dogs), I'd be happy to accept the risk of any chemical repellant (or stink!) over getting bitten, in just the same manner as I assume the risk of pesticides (+ vaccines against Lyme) against ticks for my dog. I was mostly basing my analysis on the fact that the biggest risk from mosquito bites *to me* is lots of itchy bug bites - a minor nuisance, nothing more.

My MIL (and my niece) were/are some of those people who are naturally attractive to mosquitoes. I try to hike with such individuals whenever possible. I can be DEET-free and they can be dosed up to their eyeballs, but they still end up with the bug bites, not me. That is, indeed, why I'm so cavalier about not wanting to stink of goat.

You're absolutely correct - there are many things in life worse than a goaty smell. Plus perhaps some of these other fatty acids have a more pleasant odor (to us!).

#5 Ooky

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:56 AM

Ooky - are mosquitoes vectors for bubonic plague?!? I'm probably ignorant, but I'd thought that was spread by fleas (read: ground squirrels, rats, etc.).

Yep, which is why I wrote this:

This doesn't talk about fleas, only mosquitos, still when I travel in the tropics, there are lots of mosquito borne diseases I also want nothing to do with.


I have been exposed to bubonic plague regularly for research which has been the main time I use DEET. The second main reason I use DEET is when I travel in the tropics. My point being in both cases I just really really want an insect repellant that works as effectively as possible. And would happily smell like goat to get there. Sorry for the confusion!

-ooky
+Odin (5 yr BC), Dr. Benway (14? yr ocicat), a whole lotta fish, and my 3-yo human


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