Volume 84 Issue 46 | p. 35 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 13, 2006

Frog's selective mosquito repellent

Department: Science & Technology

Certain tropical poison frogs excrete a lipophilic alkaloid on their skin that keeps yellow fever mosquitoes-a common vector of a wide variety of parasitic pathogens-from snacking on their blood. The repellent in question is the azabicyclo compound PTX (+)-251D (shown), which is 10 times more distasteful to mosquitoes than its nonnatural (-)-enantiomer (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0608646103). This example of chemical defense is a consequence of the frog's diet, notes lead author

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