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Essential oils could be a new natural mosquito repellent

As more people become aware of the toxic chemicals that are packed into mosquito repellent, there is a high demand for natural alternatives. A new study has identified essential oil from citrus fruit as a potential substitute. The research has revealed that citrus fruit oils may be an effective, eco-friendly way of controlling mosquitoes.

Researchers from Alexandria University in Egypt extracted large amounts of essential oils from the peel of a citrus fruit similar to an orange, which is widely accessible throughout many regions of the world.

In order to extract the oil, the team air-dried the peels of three different citrus species which were then cut into smaller pieces and hydro distilled. The researchers conducted tests to evaluate the usefulness of the essential oils in mosquitocidal activity.

The experts found that the oils were highly effective in killing mosquitoes. Dr. Mohamed E. I. Badawy is a professor at Alexandria University in the Department of Pesticide Chemistry and Technology and lead author of the research.

“This study, which we believe to be the first of its kind, shows that the essential oils from the peels of citrus plants were very effective against larvae and adults,” said Dr. Badawy. “This means there could be a natural and hugely accessible product available which could be used as a method of mosquito control.”

There is an urgent need for accessible mosquito control, particularly in regions of the world that have poor water management and rapid urbanization. These conditions accelerate the transmission of many diseases to humans and animals by mosquitoes.

The authors point out that further experimentation is needed to confirm the findings of this study and the effectiveness of essential oils in mosquito management. The research is published today in Natural Product Research.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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