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Is soybean oil an effective repellent against Aedes aegypti?

  • Cory Campbell (a1) and Gerhard Gries (a1)

Soybean oil (SO) is considered an active ingredient in commercial BiteBlocker™ insect-repellent products. Our objective was to test mechanisms by which SO exhibits repellency, using the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae), as a representative blood-feeding insect. In dual-port glass-cage olfactometers, human hands treated with SO at various concentrations attracted as many mosquitoes as did untreated hands, indicating that SO has no long-range repellent effect. In contrast, hands treated with N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) attracted significantly fewer mosquitoes than did untreated control hands. In cage experiments, treating an area of a human forearm exposed to A. aegypti with SO provided no protection against bites, whereas treating it with DEET did. These results indicate that SO has no short-range or contact repellent properties. Both DEET and the BiteBlocker™ product conferred protection for periods similar to those previously reported. Based on our data, classification of SO as an active mosquito repellent should be reconsidered.


L’huile de soja (SO) est considérée comme l'un des ingrédients actifs des produits insectifuges BiteBlockerMD. Notre objectif est de tester les mécanismes par lesquels SO effectue la répulsion en utilisant le moustique de la fièvre jaune, Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera : Culicidae), comme insecte piqueur représentatif. Dans des olfactomètres en cage de verre à deux ports, des mains humaines traitées avec SO à diverses concentrations attirent autant de moustiques que les mains non traitées, indiquant que SO n’a pas d'effet répulsif à longue portée. En revanche, des mains traitées avec du N,N-diéthyl-3-méthylbenzamine (DEET) attirent significativement moins de moustiques que les mains témoins non traitées. Dans des expériences en cage utilisant une section d'avant-bras humain exposée à A. aegypti, les sections traitées au SO n’apportent aucune protection contre les piqûres, alors que les sections traitées au DEET sont efficaces. Nos résultats indiquent que SO ne possède aucune propriété répulsive à courte portée ou par contact. Le DEET et le produit BiteBlockerMD fournissent des périodes de protection semblables à celles indiquées précédemment. D’après nos données, on devrait revoir la classification de SO comme répulsif actif de moustiques.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

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The Canadian Entomologist
  • ISSN: 0008-347X
  • EISSN: 1918-3240
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-entomologist
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