Interference in foraging behaviour of European and American house dust mites Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) by catmint, Nepeta cataria (Lamiaceae).
Exp Appl Acarol. 2012 May ;57(1):65-74. Epub 2012 Mar 2. PMID: 22382713
Department of Biological Sciences, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber-Pukhthoonkhwa, Pakistan.
The European and American house dust mites, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and D. farinae, have a huge impact upon human health worldwide due to being the most important indoor trigger of atopic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis and atopic dermatitis. Preceding studies have shown that the behavioural response of house dust mites towards volatile chemicals from food sources can be assessed using a Y-tube olfactometer assay. In the current study, we used this assay to investigate, for the first time, the ability of the essential oil of the catmint plant, Nepeta cataria (Lamiaceae), known to repel other ectoparasites affecting human and animal health, to interfere with the attraction of D. pteronyssinus and D. farinae towards a standard food source (fish flakes). Two distinct chemotypes (A and B), enriched in the iridoid compounds (4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactone and (4aS,7S,7aS)-nepetalactone, and the sesquiterpene (E)-(1R,9S)-caryophyllene, were used. Initial assays with a hexane extract of fish flakes (FF extract) confirmed attraction of mites to this positive control (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05 for D. pteronyssinus and D. farinae respectively), but when presented in combination with either N. cataria chemotype, tested across a range of doses (10, 1, 0.1 and 0.01 μg), decreasing attraction of mites to their food source was observed as the dose augmented. Our study shows that N. cataria, enriched in iridoid nepetalactones and (E)-(1R,9S)-caryophyllene, exhibits potent repellent activity for house dust mites, and has the potential for deployment in control programmes based on interference with normal house dust mite behaviour.