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D-limonene’s role in pesticide

Pesticides get a bad press and rightly so because there are concerns about their impact upon the environment. However without the use of pesticides the farming industry across the world would be unable to produce the amount of food that is necessary to feed people.

Before the introduction of pesticides, food production was not efficient and many crops failed because of pest attacks. The first pesticide sprayer was used in 1850 in the USA in order to protect potato crops from the ravages of the Colorado Beetle. Further development in chemicals led to the introduction of the fungicide Bordeaux mixture which could be sprayed over crops via a pump on a knapsack.

Today farming is usually carried out commercially on a huge scale so pesticides are usually applied via self propelled sprayers or from tanks drawn by tractors. This not only spreads pesticide over the crop, it can contaminate the surrounding environment, killing wildlife and poisoning insect life including bees.

The good news is that there is a safer and greener alternative. D-limonene seems to provide a solution to the need for effective pest control without causing the catastrophic environmental damage of synthetic pesticides.


First up, what are the Environmental concerns of pesticides?

The farming industry depends upon pesticides, yet damaging the environment has a catastrophic impact for all of us.

For example DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane) is an insecticide that showed it had low toxicity to mammals and was considered safe to use. However In 1972 it was banned by the EPA (environmental protection agency) because it was found that it entered the food chain and had a devastating impact on all species.

Today testing on pesticides takes many years. The majority of pesticides are developed in the laboratory and their impact on nature and the environment is closely monitored over years. However effects can be unpredictable once a pesticide is launched on the market.

If a pesticide displays any signs of toxicity the EPA will ban the material or the manufacturer will withdraw it from the market. This doesn’t happen overnight as all concerns need to be investigated and getting a dangerous pesticide banned can often take years of research.

Unfortunately a synthetic pesticide which is considered safe today may later display previously unforeseen toxicity or side effects after a few years of use.

D Limonene is a natural solution to this problem. It was first registered as a pesticide in 1958 and has never displayed any unforeseen or adverse environmental effects. In addition because D Limonene is a natural compound it doesn’t pose any risks to the environment.

So what is D Limonene?

Limonene is a natural chemical derived from the oils present in citrus fruit peels called terpenes. These natural oils are the plants’ natural defense against predators and have evolved to protect plants and fruits from pests.

Limonene contains two isomers; D Limonene and L Limonene. Isomers are compounds which contain the same atoms but have different molecular properties.

D Limonene is the principle isomer in citrus fruit peels including orange, grapefruit, lemons and mandarins. The D Limonene is extracted from the waste peel of citrus fruits generated by the food industry, so is a fantastic use of a waste product.

D Limonene is a natural chemical compound with many uses. Some of these are as follows:

  • It is often used in the skincare industry as it is low irritant and it can help products get through the skin barrier.

  • Limonene is used in the food industry to impart a citrus flavor and odor to food products. This displays it is non toxic and safe for human consumption.

  • It is the active ingredient in insect repellents such as citronella candles, insecticidal sprays and mosquito larvicides.

  • D Limonene is an environmentally safe compound for pest control and can be used on an industrial scale.

  • D Limonene is often used in pet products such as flea and tick control.

Why is D Limonene so good as a pesticide?

It is surprising that D limonene is becoming increasingly popular only now. It was first registered as a pesticide back in 1958 and as a antimicrobial agent in 1971 , yet remained low on the radar until the world woke up to the problems of environmental damage caused by synthetic pesticides.

Limonene is so good as a pesticide because it is a natural ingredient that is effective yet can be used in environmentally friendly pest control. It has low toxicity to birds, fish and mammals. It does not adversely affect honey bees so does not interfere with their function as pollinators for plant life.

D-Limonene is an excellent environmentally friendly cleaning agent too

As well as the beneficial purposesof D Limonene as a pesticide, it is a very effective cleaning agent.

D Limonene is a natural solvent that can be mixed with surfactants to make environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. These include the decontamination of surfaces in the industrial environment. D Limonene is also effective in cleaning domestic and commercial surfaces such as kitchens and factories. It removes dirt, grease and bad odors and creates a pleasant orange smelling odor.

D limonene is also effective for large scale industrial use. For example, It was a used with in the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Oil spill in 2011. The formulation was used to de grease heavy equipment and ships which had become contaminated with heavy oil.

D Limonene offers a green alternative to petroleum based solvents so is a cleaner and more environmentally friendly cleaning agent.

D Limonene is a safe pesticide that works.

D Limonene is a safe pesticide that can have a huge impact on agriculture. Switching to this green method of pest control means that the release of potentially dangerous chemicals into the food chain is now minimised. And because D Limonene works so efficiently it means that the agriculture industry can use an effective means of pest control without causing the environment additional harm.

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