A compound newly discovered in grapefruit, called nootkatone, has been registered by the EPA for use in insecticides and insect repellents.

A newly found compound in grapefruit, called nootkatone, has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in insecticides and insect repellents, according to a Citrus Industry article. Found in the skins of grapefruit, it’s a natural organic compound that gives grapefruit its characteristic odor. Explore the new discovery and its uses below.

Nootkatone as an Insecticide

The compound was discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to the article. Evolva, the CDC’s licensed partner, is currently finding commercial partnerships for the compound.

Nootkatone “repels and kill ticks, mosquitoes and a wide variety of other biting pests,” according to the article. It kills pests in a different way from other insecticides, giving it great potential in combating issues with insecticide-resistance that are found with compounds like pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates and cyclodienes.

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, an EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said in the article, the “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…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.”

Products with the compound could be commercially available as early as 2022, according to the article.

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