Comparison of the cytotoxicity and zebrafish embryo toxicity of insect repellent ingredients: p-Menthane-3,8-diol synthesized by green chemistry from Eucalyptus citriodora and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide

Özokan G., Bilginer A., Mızrak Z., Işıkoğlu S., Beler M., Ünal İ., ...More

Drug and Chemical Toxicology, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01480545.2024.2350664
  • Journal Name: Drug and Chemical Toxicology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: cell proliferation, Eucalyptus citriodora, insect repellent, NN-diethyl-meta-toluamide, p-Menthane-38-diol, zebrafish embryo toxicity
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Bio-sourced insect repellents are becoming more popular due to their safer applications. Known for its strong fly-repellent property, Cis, trans-para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) is the main component of the lemon eucalyptus essential oil and is synthesized from citronellal. In April 2005, US Centers for Disease Control approved two fly repellents that do not contain N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), including PMD. Due to the intentional and pervasive human exposure caused by DEET as insect repellent, concerns have been raised about its toxicological profile and potential harm to people. We hypothesized PMD would have a different toxicological profile than DEET. We synthesized PMD from Eucalyptus citriodora using green chemistry methods and analyzed its structures by 1H-NMR,13C-NMR, and GC/MS spectral methods. We used MTS assay to determine the percentage inhibition of PMD and DEET on keratinocyte (human epidermal keratinocyte [HaCaT]) cells. The xCelligence system was used and followed at real time. Effects of PMD and DEET on zebrafish embryo development were monitored and levels of lipid peroxidation, glutathione-S-transferase (GST), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and acetylcholinesterase (AchE) were evaluated at 72 h post-fertilization using spectrophotometric methods. Our results showed that while DEET inhibited human keratinocyte cell growth, while imporved cell viability and proliferation was exposed in PMD exposed group. In zebrafish embryos, PMD was less toxic in terms of development, oxidant-antioxidant status, and AChE activities than DEET. Based on these results we suggest an efficient method using green chemistry for the synthesis of PMD, which is found to be less toxic in zebrafish embryos and human keratinocyte cells.