Dr. Richard Burlingame with Allylix, Inc., in Lexington, Kentucky presented the first evidence of an economically viable method of production of a grapefruit extract that is a powerful an insect repellent as any other insect repellent marketed today at the Sept. 11, 2013 session of the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Burlingame demonstrated an economically viable method for creating nootkatone. Nootkatone has previously been demonstrated to be broad spectrum insect repellent that is effective against head lice, ticks, bed bugs, and mosquitoes. An added advantage over present insect repellents is the fact that nootkatone also kills the insects. Similar effects were seen with a compound called valencene that can be extracted from oranges.
The use of nootkatone as an insect repellent had previously been too expensive because only a few grams of nootkatone could be harvested from several tons of grapefruit.
Burlingame developed a synthetic method for producing valencene and converting it into nootkatone that is cost effective.
The basic idea is to create a natural insect repellent that has all the repellent qualities of presently manufactured insect repellents but is environmentally friendly, has no side effects, and is not toxic to animals or plants. Plans for manufacture include soap, shampoo, clothing, and spray on insect repellent.
The compound is presently being tested by the Environmental Protection Agency for use as an insect repellent. Nootkatone is used in food and flavor enhancement products that have been approved by the EPA and FDA.