March 28, 2016
Afraid of Zika? Use me!
What molecule am I?
Image of Icaridin 3D Image of Icaridin

Icaridin, also commonly known as picaridin, is an insect repellent that was developed by Bayer and first sold under the trade name Beyrepel. After Bayer’s 2005 spinoff of Lanxess and its Saltigo subsidiary, the trade name was changed to Saltidin. Icaridin has some advantages over the long-used insecticide DEET.

Icaridin is a potentially optically active compound, with two stereocenters. The article of commerce is a mixture of the four possible stereoisomers, one of which is shown in the 3-D image here.

The ongoing Zika virus outbreak has spurred increased use of icaridin. In February, ACS published a news video that includes advice about how to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially those that carry the virus. The video also mentions that some bug zappers use 1-octen-3-ol, an earlier Molecule of the Week, to attract mosquitoes.

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