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PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol): Citronella derived product as Bio-based Insect Repellent

Many health problems caused by insect are mostly happened from Mosquito bites, where its parasites can cause malaria, myasis, helminthiasis, even viruses causing Dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika. Insect repellent formulation can help protect individuals against insect bites besides the traditional physical protection methods, such as: wearing long-sleeves shirt, bed nets, etc.

The well known commercialized topical mosquito repellents are mostly synthetic and not derived from natural source [1], for examples:

  1. N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET)

  2. 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-methylpropylstyrene 1- piperidine carboxylate (picaridin)

There are also some effective mosquite repellents that are derived from natural sources, such as:

  1. 3-phenoxybenzyl (1RS)-cis, trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylate (permethrin)

  2. 3-(N-n-butyl-N-acetyl)-amino-propionic acid ethyl ester (IR3535)

  3. para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)

The active synthetic molecules of insect repellent are often reported as controversial due to their potential toxicity. One example of great synthetic insect repellent agent is DEET. Besides of its great repellent activity, DEET has been implicated in severe neurotoxicity factors in humans because it exhibits several adverse effects [2]. Hence, the natural bio-source of insect repellents are more favorable.

Plant-based repellents are still extensively used and the “natural” smelling repellents are preferred because they are perceived to be a safer mean of mosquito bite prevention [3]. Essential oils are the oil extracted from the plant that contain complex mixtures of hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds, such as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and phenols that are well known as the major component with insect defense mechanisms [4].

Citronella oil which contains citronellal, citronellol, geraniol, citral and limonene was first found to have insect repellent activity but Citronella oil easily evaporates so its protection is quite short.

Today, PMD (or p-menthane-3,8-diol) which is derived from Citronella oil is found to be more effective as an insect repellent and is commercially available as an alternative to DEET. PMD has a lower vapor pressure and can provide higher and longer protection (up to several hours), compared to Citronella oil [3]. Insect repellent made from PMD formulations can have an equal repellent performance compared to DEET in the same concentration and found to be more effective than picaridin. There are published studies that show PMD is effective against many diseases, such as malaria, and repels ixodid ticks, Culicoides biting, and Leptoconops biting, so it can protect against many insects and has a wide application towards prevention of arthropod-vectored human diseases [5]. PMD has been advocated for use in disease endemic areas by the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC).

Mitra Ayu offers different grades of PMD (or p-menthane-3,8-diol) to cater to customer specific requirements.

Please contact us at or send us a message here for more information on PMD.



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