News of the WeekCHEMICAL ECOLOGY

Building a Better Bug Repellent

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Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 321-323
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.321b

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Summary

On page 428, organic chemists report that the pupae of squash beetles concoct an arsenal of chemical deterrents using combinatorial chemistry, a technique in which hundreds of different compounds are assembled from the same set of basic chemical building blocks. This mix-and-match approach might have a practical payoff, as it could one day be used against pests in much the same way that we currently use DEET to repel mosquitoes.