Pyrethrins elicit olfactory response and spatial repellency in Aedes albopictus.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Pyrethrum from dry flowers of Chrysanthemum is a well-known botanical insecticide and repellent. Its insecticidal activity attributes to its six insecticidal esters, collectively known as pyrethrins. Pyrethrins and its synthetic analogs pyrethroids exert their toxic action by modifying the function of voltage-gated sodium channels. Aside from insecticidal activity, pyrethrum has also been used to repel mosquitoes for centuries. Today, pyrethrum continues to be used as an active ingredient in mosquito coils and other mosquito-repellent devices globally. However, the mechanism of pyrethrum repellency remains largely unknown.


Here we report that pyrethrum vapor induced spatial (non-contact) repellency in Aedes albopictus, a major vector of dengue and West Nile viruses. Using electroantennogram (EAG) recordings from adult antennae, we found that pyrethrum elicited EAG response in a dose-dependent manner. We then isolated the six insecticidal esters, pyrethrins I and II, cinerins I and II, jasmolins I and II from pyrethrum extract and discovered that five of the six esters, except jasmolin I, all elicited EAG responses. Furthermore, pyrethrins I and II, cinerin II and jasmolin II induced repellency, whereas cinerin I and jasmolin I did not.


Of the six pyrethrins, four of them, pyrethrins I and II, cinerin II and jasmolin II, activate olfactory-receptor neurons and elicit spatial repellency in Ae. albopictus. Our study provided a foundation for future structure-function studies of pyrethrins, their cognate olfactory receptors and efficacies of repellency and for the development of new and more effective mosquito repellents for controlling vector-borne human diseases. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yan, R; Zhou, Q; Xu, Z; Wu, Y; Zhu, G; Wang, M; Guo, Y; Dong, K; Chen, M

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 3706 - 3712

PubMed ID

  • 33798266

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-4998

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1526-498X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ps.6390


  • eng