Denatonium, which is most frequently available as denatonium benzoate under various trade names such as Bitrex, BITTERANT-b, Aversion, and BITTER+PLUS, and also as denatonium saccharide, which also possesses trade names like BITTERANT-s, represents the most bitter compound that is available, and comes with a bitterness threshold of 0.05 parts per million (ppm) for benzoate, and for saccharide, it is 0.01 ppm. For most humans, dilutions that come as 10 ppm are too bitter to swallow.
It was discovered by a pharmaceuticals research company named MacFarlan Smith of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1958 whilst conducting research on local anesthetics. Later, it was trademarked with the name Bitrex.
Normally, denatonium salts are odorless and colorless solids, even though they are frequently traded as solutions. For obvious reasons, they are utilized as aversive agents, or bitterants, in order to prevent the ingestion of inappropriate matter.
Dentanonium benzoate is utilized in nail biting preventions, antifreeze, denatured alcohol, animal repellents, shampoos, respirator mask fit-testing, and liquid soaps. It is, however, not known to cause risks to health over the long term.
Applications for Denatonium Benzoate
On account of dentonium benzoate’s bitterness, this tends to guide its applications. It is used to denature ethanol to the effect that it will not be consumed in the form of an alcoholic beverage, given the sales and taxation restrictions.
One particular designation, SD-40B, provides indication that ethanol is denatured through the use of denatonium benzoate.
The compound is frequently used in placebo medications which are then utilized for clinical trials as a way to match the bitter taste that is found in a number of medications.
It is also utilized in order to discourage the consumption of various alcohols that could be harmful if consumed, such as methyl alcohol. And it is combined with a number of additives like ethylene glycol.
The compound is used for rubbing alcohol in, in the form of an active ingredient. It is used as an additive with respect to numerous harmful liquids, and this includes varnishes, paints, solvents like nail polish remover, toiletries, and various other personal care substances like nail polish whereby it helps to prevent the biting of nails.
Further, it is added to aerosol products that are of a less hazardous nature such as gas dusters. This is to discourage the inhalant abuse of vapors that are volatile.
The state of Oregon in 1995, made it policy that dentonium benzoate become an additive to windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, thereby preventing any potential poisoning of children and animals, given that methanol and ethylene glycol are in fact sweet-tasting.
From December 2012 on, major global marketers or antifreeze have been adding bittering agents to antifreeze in all 50 U.S. states. The main product that is used for this purpose is dentonium benzoate.
It is known that animals have varying sensitivities to denatonium and the effects it can have. Thus, the compound is used in different types of animal repellents, particularly so with respect to larger mammals such as deer.
It is also used in rat poisons as a safeguard against human consumption, given that humans can detect denatonium at far lesser concentrations than can rodents.
Use of Denatonium Benzoate in Animal Repellents
In general, animal repellents work through using an animal’s natural aversion to a substance, after which, the animal avoids this substance within its natural environment.
As by way of example, a number of animal species will stay clear of anything that possesses the odor of certain predators’ urine. Thus, in effect, a lion’s urine is particularly conducive to keeping away other animal species.
Other domestic examples include coyote urine which is used in some deer repellents. Fox urine has many applications and can be used to repel groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and woodchucks. On the other hand, bobcat urine is used to repel voles, moles, and mice, together with other rodents. And wolf urine is known to be effective against moose.
Chemical repellents aid in repelling or deterring animals, too, through the mimicking of natural substances. Either this, or they have been designed in such a way that they are particularly irritating to a specific type of animal. Thus, the animal will avoid the protected area or object.
Denatonium benzoate is used as an animal repellent with its primary utilization being to control domesticated and wild animals from feeding on normally non-food wooded plants, as well as other trees and shrubs.