Bites Bites of mosquitoes belonging to the genera Anopheles Meigen, Aedes Meigen, Culex L. and Haemagogus L. are a general nuisance and are responsible for the transmission of important tropical diseases such as malaria, hemorrhagic dengue and yellow fevers and filariasis (elephantiasis). Plants are traditional sources of mosquito repelling essential oils (EOs), glyceridic oils and repellent and synergistic chemicals. A Chemical Abstracts search on mosquito repellent inventions containing plant-derived EOs revealed 144 active patents mostly from Asia. Chinese, Japanese and Korean language patents and those of India (in English) accounted for roughly 3/4 of all patents. Since 1998 patents on EO-containing mosquito repellent inventions have almost doubled about every 4 years. In general, these patents describe repellent compositions for use in topical agents, cosmetic products, incense, fumigants, indoor and outdoor sprays, fibers, textiles among other applications. 67 EOs and 9 glyceridic oils were individually cited in at least 2 patents. Over 1/2 of all patents named just one EO. Citronella [Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle, C.winterianus Jowitt ex Bor] and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus LʼHér. spp.) EOs were each cited in approximately 1/3 of all patents. Camphor [Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl], cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume), clove [Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry], geranium (Pelargonium graveolens LʼHér.), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.), lemon [Citrus × limon (L.) Osbeck], lemongrass [Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf] and peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) EOs were each cited in > 10% of patents. Repellent chemicals present in EO compositions or added as pure “natural” ingredients such as geraniol, limonene, p-menthane-3,8-diol, nepetalactone and vanillin were described in approximately 40% of all patents. About 25% of EO-containing inventions included or were made to be used with synthetic insect control agents having mosquito repellent properties such as pyrethroids, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), (±)-p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) and dialkyl phthalates. Synergistic effects involving one or more EOs and synthetic and/or natural components were claimed in about 10% of all patents. Scientific literature sources provide evidence for the mosquito repellency of many of the EOs and individual chemical components found in EOs used in patented repellent inventions.
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