Naturally Derived Pesticide May Replace More Harmful Chemicals
The humble grapefruit may soon prove to be the inspiration for a new pesticide. The substance known as nootkatone, which gives the citrus fruit its characteristic taste and smell, has already been proven as useful for repelling deer ticks, mosquitoes, head lice, and bedbugs. Considered safe by the USDA, nootkatone is also used in perfumes and for flavoring foods. Richard Burlingame, Ph.D, who presented the report, postulated that nootkatone, or some substance similar to it may be a sfer alternative to preexisting substances like deet. There’s only one problem: nootkatone extracted from grapefruits costs about $25 per oz. However, Allylix, Inc., a “renewable chemical firm” in Kentucky, in conjunction with the CDC, is on the job. They utilized yeast to produce valencene (previously extracted from oranges), which can then be converted into nootkatone. Now the only thing pending is approval from the EPA to sell nootkatone for insect control, not just as a fragrance or flavoring.
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot." ScienceDaily, 11 Sep. 2013. Web. 30 Sep. 2013.