Background: The main ingredient of most repellents on the market is DEET, an effective compound that has the disadvantages of toxic reactions as well as damaging effects on plastic and synthetic fabric. DEET alternatives are urgently needed.
Methods: The repellent activities of 11 kinds of essential oils were tested against Aedes albopictus Skuse by a Y-tube olfactometer. Using essential oils with high repellent activity as core material and gelatin and gum arabic as wall materials, we prepared microcapsules of essential oils and optimized the preparation process. The microcapsule formulation was then subjected to repellent bioassay on hand skin.
Results: when the dosage of essential oils was 5 µL, the cinnamon oil repellent rate was 87.5% within 10 min and the Herba Schizonepetae oil (HSO) repellent rate was 98.0% within 3 min. Up to 1.5% (w/v) gelatin and 1.5% (w/v) gum arabic (as wall materials), and HSO (as core material) were used to form microcapsules with a 1:1 ratio of core material to wall material.
Conclusion: The ointment preparations effectively protected hand skin exposed to a high-density A. albopictus Skuse rearing cage for 4-5 h. The HSO microcapsule repellent has broad application and development prospects.
Keywords: Herba Schizonepetae oil; Microcapsule; Mosquito repellent; Plant essential oil; Simple coacervation.