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Essential oils and extracts belonging to plants in the citronella genus (Poaceae) are commonly used as ingredients of plant-based mosquito repellents (Table 1), mainly Cymbopogon nardus that is sold in Europe and North America in commercial preparations. Citronella has found its way into many commercial preparations through its familiarity, rather than its efficacy. Citronella was originally extracted for use in perfumery, and its name derives from the French citronelle around 1858 . It was used by the Indian Army to repel mosquitoes at the beginning of the 20th century  and was then registered for commercial use in the USA in 1948 . Today, citronella is one of the most widely used natural repellents on the market, used at concentrations of 5-10%. This is lower than most other commercial repellents but higher concentrations can cause skin sensitivity. However, there are relatively few studies that have been carried out to determine the efficacy of essential oils from citronella as arthropod repellents. Citronella-based repellents only protect from host-seeking mosquitoes for about two hours although formulation of the repellent is very important [31, 32]. Initially, citronella, which contains citronellal, citronellol, geraniol, citral, α pinene, and limonene, is as effective dose for dose as DEET , but the oils rapidly evaporate causing loss of efficacy and leaving the user unprotected. However, by mixing the essential oil of Cymbopogon winterianus with a large molecule like vanillin (5%) protection time can be considerable prolonged by reducing the release rate of the volatile oil . Recently, the use of nanotechnology has allowed slower release rates of oils to be achieved, thus prolonging protection time . Encapsulated citronella oil nanoemulsion is prepared by high-pressure homogenization of 2.5% surfactant and 100% glycerol, to create stable droplets that increase the retention of the oil and slow down release. The release rate relates well to the protection time so that a decrease in release rate can prolong mosquito protection time . Another means of prolonging the effect of natural repellents is microencapsulation using gelatin-arabic gum microcapsules, which maintained the repellency of citronella up to 30 days on treated fabric stored at room temperature (22°C) . The use of these technologies to enhance the performance of natural repellents may revolutionize the repellent market and make plant oils a more viable option for use in long-lasting repellents. However, for the time-being travellers to disease endemic areas should not be recommended citronella-based repellents . In contrast, for those communities where more efficacious alternatives are not available, or are prohibitively expensive, the use of citronella to prevent mosquito bites may provide important protection from disease vectors .
The precise formulae of commercial perfumes are kept secret. Even if they were widely published, they would be dominated by such complex ingredients and odorants that they would be of little use in providing a guide to the general consumer in description of the experience of a scent. Nonetheless, connoisseurs of perfume can become extremely skillful at identifying components and origins of scents in the same manner as wine experts.
Although fragrant extracts are known to the general public as the generic term "essential oils", a more specific language is used in the fragrance industry to describe the source, purity, and technique used to obtain a particular fragrant extract.Of these extracts, only absolutes, essential oils, and tinctures are directly used to formulate perfumes.
Perfume compositions are an important part of many industries ranging from the luxury goods sectors, food services industries, to manufacturers of various household chemicals. The purpose of using perfume or fragrance compositions in these industries is to affect customers through their sense of smell and entice them into purchasing the perfume or perfumed product. As such there is significant interest in producing a perfume formulation that people will find aesthetically pleasing.
The composition of a perfume typically begins with a brief by the perfumer's employer or an outside customer. The customers to the perfumer or their employers, are typically fashion houses or large corporations of various industries. The perfumer will then go through the process of blending multiple perfume mixtures and sell the formulation to the customer, often with modifications of the composition of the perfume. The perfume composition will then be either used to enhance another product as a functional fragrance (shampoos, make-up, detergents, car interiors, etc.), or marketed and sold directly to the public as a fine fragrance.
Although there is no single "correct" technique for the formulation of a perfume, there are general guidelines as to how a perfume can be constructed from a concept. Although many ingredients do not contribute to the smell of a perfume, many perfumes include colorants and antioxidants to improve the marketability and shelf life of the perfume, respectively.
Instead of building a perfume from "ground up", many modern perfumes and colognes are made using fragrance bases or simply bases. Each base is essentially modular perfume that is blended from essential oils and aromatic chemicals, and formulated with a simple concept such as "fresh cut grass" or "juicy sour apple". Many of Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria line, with their simple fragrance concepts, are good examples of what perfume fragrance bases are like.
The perfume industry in the US is not directly regulated by the FDA, instead the FDA controls the safety of perfumes through their ingredients and requires that they be tested to the extent that they are Generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Due to the need for protection of trade secrets, companies rarely give the full listing of ingredients regardless of their effects on health. In Europe, as from 11 March 2005, the mandatory listing of a set of 26 recognized fragrance allergens was enforced. The requirement to list these materials is dependent on the intended use of the final product. The limits above which the allergens are required to be declared are 0.001% for products intended to remain on the skin, and 0.01% for those intended to be rinsed off. This has resulted in many old perfumes like chypres and fougère classes, which traditionally make use of oakmoss extract, being reformulated.
There exist several archives and museums devoted to the preservation of historical perfumes, namely the Osmothèque, which stocks over 3,000 perfumes from the past two millennia in their original formulations. All scents in their collection are preserved in non-actinic glass flasks flushed with argon gas, stored in thermally insulated compartments maintained at 12 °C (54 °F) in a large vault.
I divided the class into three groups; each group prepared a different historical perfume (instructions for preparing cyprinum and rhodinon can be downloaded from the Science in School websitew2). At the end of the activity, each student had a small sample of perfume to take home.
Once we had appreciated the perfume of ancient Rome, we returned to the 21st century to investigate which molecules produced the fragrance. Table 1, showing the main scented chemicals in our telinum (the structures of some of which illustrate this article), is available for download from the Science in School websitew2.
A perfumery compound is not a single material of clearly defined properties, but rather a mixture of individual chemicals, each behaving according to its own unique attributes. Characterizing these chemicals separately, and then combining their effects, allows the behavior of the complete perfume composition in diverse media to be understood. Important properties of fragrance chemicals include volatility, polarity, surface activity and stability. Considering the fact that perfume raw materials are themselves quite often complex mixtures of synthetic or natural (e.g. essential oils) organic compounds, the determination of the composition of an unknown perfume, the so called perfume-formulation process, is not an easy task. 1e1e36bf2d