Dr. Ulrich Bernier with the Mosquito and Fly Unit at the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service-Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida presented a new chemistry for mosquito repellents that block mosquito’s ability to sense and respond to chemical attractants that are common body chemicals produced by humans and animals. The research was presented at the Sept. 9, 2013, session of the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The research is a paradigm shift from present repellents that contain DEET to a chemical system that inhibits the ability of a mosquito to smell people or animals. After 60 years of mosquito control and repellent work the researchers have found that a group of chemical compounds, including 1-methylpiperzine, block mosquitoes' sense of smell. The basic idea is that if the mosquito cannot smell you they will not bite you. An additional advantage of this new chemistry is that mosquitoes need some compounds derived from the blood of their human and animal prey to produce viable eggs.
The researchers found that one of the most attractive chemicals to mosquitoes commonly produced on human skin is lactic acid. The repellent containing 1-methylpiperzine was 90 percent effective in preventing mosquitoes from smelling lactic acid.
The new compounds are safe for use in cosmetics, lotions, and even mosquito repellent clothing. The basic chemical structure of 1-methylpiperzine is based on present drug chemistry that has been proven to be side effect free over decades of use.
The development offers hope to prevent the spread of mosquito borne diseases in animals and people.