Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot

Date:
September 11, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
The citrus flavor and aroma of grapefruit — already used in fruit juices, citrus-flavored beverages, and prestige perfumes and colognes — may be heading for a new use in battling mosquitoes, ticks, head lice and bedbugs thanks to a less expensive way of making large amounts of the once rare and pricey ingredient, scientists say.

The citrus flavor and aroma of grapefruit -- already used in fruit juices, citrus-flavored beverages, and prestige perfumes and colognes -- may be heading for a new use in battling mosquitoes, ticks, head lice and bedbugs thanks to a less expensive way of making large amounts of the once rare and pricey ingredient, scientists say.

"A new product based on nootkatone would have multiple advantages over existing mosquito repellants based on DEET," said Richard Burlingame, Ph.D., who presented the report. "Nootkatone is a broad-spectrum ingredient that has been shown to be effective as a control agent for mosquitoes, ticks and bedbugs. Nootkatone has been used for years to give beverages a grapefruit flavor. It is safe to eat, has a pleasant citrus flavor, is not greasy, both repels and kills insects, and should not have the toxicity concerns that exist for DEET."

Burlingame, who is with Allylix, Inc., a renewable-chemical firm in Lexington, Ky., spoke at a symposium entitled "Biopesticides: State of the Art and Future Opportunities." It includes presentations (abstracts appear below) on progress in developing new pesticides isolated from natural sources, or patterned closely after natural products that are effective in pest control.

"The goal of the symposium is to discuss the science behind these products, many of which are effective at lower doses and are less toxic to humans than conventional pesticides," said James N. Seiber, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis. He co-organized the symposium with Aaron Gross and Joel Coats, Ph.D., both of Iowa State University, and Stephen Duke, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.

Burlingame cited nootkatone as an excellent example of the potential for developing new pesticides based on natural sources. Nootkatone is a component of the oil in grapefruit, and has been on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's list of substances generally recognized as safe for use in food. It has been in commercial use for years as a flavoring for foods and beverages and as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes. Those applications require only tiny amounts of nootkatone, and price -- $25 per ounce when extracted from grapefruit -- was not a major concern. It was slightly less expensive when produced from a substance called valencene, extracted from oranges.

The need for a more economical source of nootkatone intensified after scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered nootkatone's effectiveness in controlling ticks, mosquitoes and other insects. Nootkatone extracted from grapefruit, however, would be too expensive for development of a consumer product. That use would require larger amounts of nootkatone. Allylix is now working with scientists at CDC to develop nootkatone for commercial use as an insect-control agent.

Burlingame described how Allylix used proprietary technology to develop a way of producing valencene from yeast growing in industrial fermentation vats. Technicians harvest the valencene and use a chemical process to convert it into nootkatone. Allylix said the process made it possible to market nootkatone at a competitive price.

"The effects of nootkatone last much longer than those of repellents currently on the market," he said. "And nootkatone shows promise for being the most effective agent for the ticks that cause Lyme disease."

Nookatone also works in a new way, so it can be used against insects that develop resistance and shrug off conventional pesticides, and yet would be very unlikely to harm people or pets.

Allylix currently sells nootkatone only for use in flavor and fragrance applications. The next step involves getting approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sell nootkatone for insect control. "They haven't approved it yet, so no products currently on the market in the U.S. include nootkatone as an active ingredient to control pests," noted Burlingame. "But in the future, it could be a key ingredient in repellents for use on clothing or on skin as a spray, or even as a soap or shampoo."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911092719.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2013, September 11). Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911092719.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911092719.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins