A potent new tool to smoke out mosquitoesMay 10th, 2011 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, May 10 (IANS) Imagine an insect repellent thousands of times more potent than DEET - the key ingredient in most commercial mosquito repellents - and which also works against all types of insects, including flies and ants.
The discovery of a new class of insect repellent was made in the lab of Laurence Zwiebel, Vanderbilt University professor of biological sciences and pharmacology.
“It wasn’t something we set out to find,” said David Rinker, graduate student who performed the study along with graduate student Gregory Pask and post-doctoral fellow Patrick Jones.
“It was an anomaly that we noticed in our tests,” Rinker adds, reports the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The tests were conducted as part of a major interdisciplinary research project to develop new ways to control the spread of malaria by disrupting a mosquito’s sense of smell, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a Vanderbilt statement.
“It’s too soon to determine whether this specific compound can act as the basis of a commercial product,” Zwiebel cautioned. “But it is the first of its kind and, as such, can be used to develop other similar compounds that have characteristics appropriate for commercialization.”
The discovery of this repellent is based on insights that scientists have gained about the basic nature of the insect’s sense of smell in the last few years.
Vanderbilt University has filed for a patent on this class of compounds and is talking with potential corporate licensees interested in incorporating them into commercial products, with special focus on development of products to reduce the spread of malaria in the developing world.
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Tags: basic nature, bill melinda gates, bill melinda gates foundation, corporate licensees, developing world, insect repellent, interdisciplinary research project, journal proceedings, melinda gates foundation, mosquito repellents, national academy of sciences, pask, post doctoral fellow, proceedings of the national academy, proceedings of the national academy of sciences, rinker, sense of smell, types of insects, vanderbilt university professor, zwiebel