Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324460

Research Project: Biting Arthropod Surveillance and Control

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Chemicals that produce anosmia in mosquitoes

item Bernier, Ulrich - Uli

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed repellents and insecticides for the U.S. military since 1942. A small component of this research program has been focused on the discovery of attractants that can be used to produce potent lures for haematophagous arthropods, especially mosquitoes and other medically important biting flies. Research in the late 1960s led to the discovery of L-lactic acid as one of the attractants for Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquitoes. In the mid and late 1990s, studies on the skin chemistry of multiple human volunteers led to the report of 277 endogenous skin-produced compounds. From the compounds identified in this study, mosquito attractant lures were developed and shown to be effective at trapping Ae. aegypti in laboratory bioassays. An unexpected finding from this research occurred in 2000. It was discovered that some compounds inhibited that ability of mosquitoes to detect and orient towards a source of human odors. The results of this study determined that heterocyclic nitrogen compounds present on human skin at trace levels caused this inhibition of attraction. When larger quantities of these “attraction-inhibitors” were presented concurrently with human odors, they produced anosmia (inability to detect odors) and hyposmia (decreased ability to detect odors) in the test mosquitoes. This presentation will cover the research that led to this discovery of a novel means to prevent mosquitoes from finding hosts.