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Repelling Aedes aegypti: A sustainable plant based solution in Lao PDR
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre. Kungliga Tekniska högskolan.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Background. Vector borne diseases such as dengue fever and malaria are spread through hematophagous insects. Aedes aegypti is a species of mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya in Asia. In Lao PDR the estimated direct and indirect cost of dengue fever alone is 5 million USD. Even though research and innovations in the field of vaccines are moving forward there are yet no effective treatments for these diseases. Vector control methods are in place to suppress the Ae. aegypti population but there are still more than 100,000 cases annually. However, insecticide resistance, mosquito behavioral changes, high costs and health issues make todays measures inadequate. An effective measure is to decrease the mosquito-human contact by applying topical repellents.

Aims. This study investigates plants used traditionally for repelling hematophagous insects in Laos, with the aim of finding means to empower local communities to create their own repellents.

Methods. After interviewing local communities in Laos and reviewing literature, 24 candidate species were compiled. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) were hydro-distilled to extract essential oils. These oils were then analyzed through GS-MS to understand their chemical composition. Finally the essential oils were formulated with soybean oil to pilot a topical repellent that was tested in vivo on Ae. aegypti under controlled conditions.

Results. The formulations elicited about 60 minutes of full protection but when combined, a possible additive effect was noted, prolonging the efficacy by nearly 50%. The main constituents of C. citratus are neral (34.77%) and geranial (56.44%) while, in the more complex, Z. officinale the main components are β-Linalool (9.84%), Geranial (14.44%) and Zingiberene (14.43%).

Discussion and conclusions. Botanical repellents are a viable, cheap and sustainable solution of repelling hematophagous disease vectors. The mixture of ginger and lemongrass oil can be further improved in formulation by stabilizing it, and thus prolonging the protection. Increasing yield using alternative means of extracting the essential oils would also make these oils more feasible for commercial production. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 30 p.
Keyword [en]
Repel Aedes aegypti Cympobogon citratus Zingiber officinale
National Category
Botany Behavioral Sciences Biology Ecology Zoology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230434OAI: diva2:740618
Educational program
Master Programme in Applied Biotechnology
2014-06-04, BMC, Uppsala, 17:21 (English)
Available from: 2014-08-26 Created: 2014-08-25 Last updated: 2014-08-26Bibliographically approved

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