Grapefruit Ingredient Has New Use

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A new active ingredient in grapefruit, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in insecticides and insect repellents.

The new ingredient, nootkatone, repels and kill ticks, mosquitoes and a wide variety of other biting pests. Nootkatone, a natural organic compound, is responsible for the characteristic smell and taste of grapefruit and is widely used in the fragrance industry to make perfumes and colognes. It is found in minute quantities in Alaska yellow cedar trees and grapefruit skin.

Nootkatone can now be used to develop new insect repellents and insecticides for protecting people and pets. CDC’s licensed partner, Evolva, is in advanced discussions with leading pest control companies for possible commercial partnerships. Companies interested in developing brand name consumer products will be required to submit a registration package to the EPA for review, and products could be commercially available as early as 2022.

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Nootkatone kills biting pests in a unique way, different from other insecticides already registered by the EPA, including pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates and cyclodienes. Having a new effective ingredient for insecticide available will assist in addressing the growing levels of insecticide-resistance to other products currently in use, according to the EPA.

“EPA is pleased to be continuing our partnership with CDC on registering nootkatone, which provides another tool to help protect the American public from biting insects and ticks,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This new active ingredient has the potential to be used in future insect repellents and pesticides that will protect people from disease. In many areas of the United States, mosquitoes have become resistant to currently available pesticides. A new active ingredient in our toolbox will help vector-control programs.”

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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