Mosquito Repellents

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  • Topic: Insect repellent, Mosquito, DEET
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  • Published : February 28, 2011
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A CASE STUDY ON THE EVOLUTION OF MOSQUITO REPELLENTS
By:- Rajdeep Laha
Calcutta Business School
PGDM 2010-12

OVERVIEW
Traditionally, various types of substances have been used to repel mosquitos. These include such things as smoke, plant extracts, oils, tars, and muds. As insect repellent technology became more sophisticated, individual compounds were discovered and isolated. This allowed the formulation of new, more efficient forms of mosquito repellents. The first truly effective active ingredient used in mosquito repellents was citronella oil. This material is an herbal extract derived from the citronella plant, an Asian grass. While citronella had been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, its repellence was only accidentally discovered in 1901, when it was used as a hairdressing fragrance. Since citronella oil is a fragrant material, it is thought that the chemical terpenes of which it is composed are responsible for its repellent activity. Citronella oil does repel mosquitos, but it has certain characteristics which limit its effectiveness. For example, it is very volatile and evaporates too quickly from surfaces to which it is applied. Also, large amounts are needed to be effective. The disadvantages of using citronella oil prompted researchers to study alternative synthetic compounds. Many of the early attempts at creating synthetic insect repellents were initiated by the United States military. Out of this research came the discovery of the repellent dimethyl phthalate in 1929. This material showed a good level of effectiveness against certain insect species, but it was ineffective against others. Two other materials were developed as insect repellents. Indalone was found to repel insects in 1937, and Rutgers 612 (2-ethyl-1,3-hexane diol) was synthesized soon after. Like dimethyl phthalate, these materials had certain limitations which prevented their widespread use. Since none of the available materials were ideal repellents, research into new synthetic materials continued. In 1955, scientists synthesized DEET (n-n-diethylnetatoluamide), currently the most widely used active ingredient for mosquito repellents. After its discovery, repellent manufacturers developed many different forms in which to deliver DEET, such as creams, lotions, and aerosols.

Mosquito repellents are substances that are designed to make surfaces unpleasant or unattractive to mosquitos. They typically contain an active ingredient that repels mosquitos as well as secondary ingredients, which aid in delivery and cosmetic appeal. They are available in many forms, from creams to lotions to oils, but are most often sold as aerosol products. History

Traditionally, various types of substances have been used to repel mosquitos. These include such things as smoke, plant extracts, oils, tars, and muds. As insect repellent technology became more sophisticated, individual compounds were discovered and isolated. This allowed the formulation of new, more efficient forms of mosquito repellents. The first truly effective active ingredient used in mosquito repellents was citronella oil. This material is an herbal extract derived from the citronella plant, an Asian grass. While citronella had been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, its repellence was only accidentally discovered in 1901, when it was used as a hairdressing fragrance. Since citronella oil is a fragrant material, it is thought that the chemical terpenes of which it is composed are responsible for its repellent activity. Citronella oil does repel mosquitos, but it has certain characteristics which limit its effectiveness. For example, it is very volatile and evaporates too quickly from surfaces to which it is applied. Also, large amounts are needed to be effective. The disadvantages of using citronella oil prompted researchers to study alternative synthetic compounds. Many of the early attempts at creating synthetic insect repellents were initiated by the United...
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