Results just published on March 4, 2021, in Current Biology now explain why catnip works as a powerful mosquito repellent.  Researchers from Northwestern University and Lund University explored the mechanisms by which catnip and its active ingredient, Nepetalactone, successfully ward off a wide array of insects.  

Simply put, a catnip metabolite functions as a powerful natural insect repellent because it activates an insect receptor, TRPA1, that is triggered by noxious and irritating chemicals. No wonder it creates a significant aversive effect!

As a result, this may be an excellent target for next-generation repellents that exploit the same mosquito irritant receptor.  Hopefully, new products based on this work will be safer and as effective (or more so) than current options.

 

Source:  Press Release, Northwestern University https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2021/03/catnip-insect-repellent/

Current Biology publication DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.02.010

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