Frog secretion holds promise as mosquito repellent
Feb 25, 2006 - 9:54:37 AM
The secretions of a bottle-green Australian frog could be used in future mosquito repellents as it is effective at warding off the insects, say scientists.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide gave mice the secretions of the dumpy tree frog and found them remaining bite-free for around 50 minutes compared to 12 minutes for an untreated group, the BBC's online edition reported.
However mice given Deet, the chemical that is used in commercial mosquito repellents, were protected for up to two hours, the study published in the Biology Letters journal said.
The researchers said the frog secretions should not yet be considered as an alternative to Deet, which was originally formulated for the US army after the Second World War.
They said such repellents (based on secretions of the frog) would only have a limited effect in fighting malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes and is responsible for one million deaths a year.
But they said: "The discovery highlights the potential of the unsung properties of amphibian skin."
The research team also found two other Australian species - the desert tree frog and Mjoberg's Toadlet - released mosquito repellent odour from their skin, although their secretions were not tested on mice.
Researchers chose to investigate the frogs because previous research had uncovered that their secretions could act as powerful painkillers and hallucinogens.
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