Natural product studies of U.S. endangered plants: Volatile components of Lindera melissifolia (Lauraceae) repel mosquitoes and ticks
The number of endangered plant species in the U.S. is significant, yet studies aimed towards utilizing these plants are limited. Ticks and mosquitoes are vectors of significant pathogenic diseases of humans. Repellents are critical means of personal protection against biting arthropods and disease transmission. The essential oil and solvent extracts from Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume (Lauraceae) (pondberry) drupes were gathered and analyzed by GC and GC–MS. The essential oil obtained from this endangered plant showed a significant dose dependent repellency of ticks and a moderate mosquito repellent effect while the subsequent hexanes extract was completely ineffective. Fractional freezing enriched the tick repellent components of the essential oil. Several known tick repellent components were recognized by the GC–MS comparison of the resulting fractions and β-caryophyllene, α-humulene, germacrene D and β-elemene warrant evaluations for tick repellency. Identifying pondberry as a potential renewable source for a broad spectrum repellent supports efforts to conserve similar U.S. endangered or threatened plant species.