A New Innovative Use for Catmint: DuPont Develops New Natural Insect Repellent

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DuPont has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an insect repellent ingredient derived from the catmint plant, a sustainable resource more commonly known and loved by felines worldwide as catnip.

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The DuPont research and development pipeline continues to deliver a full range of exciting products for crop protection as well as adjacent market spaces such as animal health, seed treatment and professional pest control

DuPont has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an insect repellent ingredient derived from the catmint plant, a sustainable resource more commonly known and loved by felines worldwide as catnip. The new ingredient, Refined Oil of Nepeta cataria, is the first new insect repellent biopesticide to be registered by the EPA in eight years.

“This new, natural ingredient is particularly exciting because it repels a broad range of biting insects with effectiveness similar to synthetic ingredients such as DEET. Unlike other repellants on the market today, natural refined catmint oil can be reapplied often in contrast to other common repellents,” said Henry Bryndza, director of chemical science and engineering for DuPont Central Research & Development.

DuPont also has received registration from the EPA for two additional liquid formulations of the new ingredient. These end use products are currently under review with the Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PRMA) as well.

The current market for products that protect against disease carrying pests in a variety of markets including healthcare, personal care and veterinary practices is about $800 million, said Bryndza. With recent outbreaks of illnesses such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease in the United States, the demand for insect control products, as well as more sustainable natural repellents, is expected to increase.

“Natural refined catmint oil is not oily like traditional insect repellents can be and has a pleasant, natural fragrance. Potential markets for the new insect repellent include topical personal care products such as sun block lotions, sprays, wipes and insect repellent candles. This product could also potentially be formulated into sunscreen because of its ability to be reapplied,” Bryndza said.

The catmint oil is harvested from catmint plants selected for their abilities to produce higher amounts of the active ingredient. Many homeowners use catmint as an ornamental in their outdoor landscaping; however, producing insect repellent from the plants is not straightforward. Unrefined, the oil is a skin sensitizer. The refining innovation developed by DuPont makes it possible to apply directly.

Pipeline Innovation Sparks New Business Models

“The DuPont research and development pipeline continues to deliver a full range of exciting products for crop protection as well as adjacent market spaces such as animal health, seed treatment and professional pest control,” said James C. Collins, vice president and general manager -- DuPont Crop Protection. “As we continue to develop new innovations, we are exploring new business models to bring exciting products like this one to market faster than ever before.”

According to Collins, DuPont has revitalized its crop protection business in the past several years by applying new commercialization models to its rich pipeline of new products. For example, unique licensing agreements with Syngenta are allowing DuPont to more rapidly introduce two new blockbuster insect control products, DuPont™ Rynaxypyr® and Cyazypyr™, while generating resources to invest in future research and development efforts.

In the area of natural pesticides, DuPont established an agreement with Marrone Organic Innovations Inc. in 2007 to develop several other natural product discoveries from DuPont as biopesticide products. DuPont is seeking to establish similar relationships with companies interested in bringing this natural insect repellent to market.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building construction; communications and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont™, The miracles of science™, Rynaxypyr® and Cyazypyr™ are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

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