Breadfruit Battles Mosquitoes | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 16 | p. 40 | Concentrates
Issue Date: April 16, 2012

Breadfruit Battles Mosquitoes

Researchers elucidate the active chemicals in plant extracts that keep mosquitoes at bay
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Critter Chemistry
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Analytical SCENE
Keywords: mosquito repellent, capric acid, undecanoic acid, lauric acid, breadfruit
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Dried male inflorescences of the breadfruit plant.
Credit: J. Agric. Food Chem.
This photo shows a dried male parts of breadfruit.
 
Dried male inflorescences of the breadfruit plant.
Credit: J. Agric. Food Chem.

Clusters of male flowers of the breadfruit plant, known as inflorescences, are prized in certain regions of the world: When these plant parts are dried and burned, the smoke can ward off flying insects, especially mosquitoes. Researchers have now elucidated the chemicals in breadfruit inflorescences responsible for keeping biting bugs at bay (J. Agric. Food Chem., DOI: 10.1021/jf300101w). Furthermore, they’ve shown that the breadfruit-based compounds are more effective at deterring Aedes aegypti mosquitoes than the popular insect repellent N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, otherwise known as DEET. Researchers led by A. Maxwell P. Jones of the University of British Columbia, Kelowna, studied a hydrodistillate of breadfruit male inflorescences and found that certain fractions worked well in preventing mosquitoes from biting. From these fractions they identified capric acid, undecanoic acid, and lauric acid as the active mosquito-deterring compounds. Each of these fatty acids proved more effective than DEET against the mosquitoes when applied in equimolar concentrations. The researchers believe the compounds could provide an alternative to DEET-based repellents.

 
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Comments
Honey Grace (February 6, 2017 6:21 AM)
Is breadfruit leaves can also repel,kill rather mosquitoes?

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