A naturally occurring sesquiterpene, isolongifolenone, derivatives of which have been used extensively as ingredients in the cosmetics industry, was discovered to effectively repel blood-feeding arthropods that are important disease vectors. We show that (—)-isolongifolenone deters the biting of the mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles stephensi Liston, more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent, N,N-diethyl-3-methyl benzamide (DEET), in laboratory bioassays. The compound also repelled blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis Say, and lone star ticks, Amblyomma americanum (L.), as effectively as DEET. Isolongifolenone is easily synthesized from inexpensive turpentine oil feedstock. We are therefore confident that the compound has significant potential as an inexpensive and safe repellent for protection of large human populations against blood-feeding arthropods.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1