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The formulation of the essential oil of Piper aduncum Linnaeus (Piperales: Piperaceae) increases its efficacy as an insect repellent

  • S.N.H. Mamood (a1), O. Hidayatulfathi (a1), S.B. Budin (a1), G. Ahmad Rohi (a1) and M.H. Zulfakar (a2)...


The essential oil (EO) of Piper aduncum Linnaeus, known as ‘sireh lada’ to locals Malaysian, has the potential to be used as an alternative to synthetic insect repellents such as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. However, the EO's efficacy as a repellent decreases after application due to the high volatility of its active ingredients. A number of studies have showed that optimizing the formulation of plant-based EOs can improve their efficacy as repellents. The present study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of 10% P. aduncum EO in ethanol and in three different semisolid formulations: ointment, cream and gel. These formulations were tested on Aedes aegypti under laboratory conditions. Each formulation was applied to the subject's hands, which were then inserted into a cage containing 25 nulliparous A. aegypti. The number of mosquitoes landing on or biting each subject's hand was recorded, and the repellency percentage, landing/biting percentage and protection time for each of the formulations were compared. There were no statistically significant differences between the semisolid EO formulations with regards to the repellency percentage and the landing/biting percentage at 4 h post-application. All three semisolid EO formulations were able to repel >65% of the A. aegypti at 4 h post-application. The EO ointment formulation provided a protection time (182.5 ± 16.01 min) that was statistically significantly longer than that associated with the EO gel formulation (97.5 ± 14.93 min). Meanwhile, the EO cream formulation provided a protection time of 162.5 ± 6.29 min. As the EO cream and ointment formulations displayed better repellent properties than the EO gel formulation, they appear to be the most promising P. aduncum EO formulations to be developed and commercialized as alternatives to synthetic repellents.


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