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Identification of Human-Derived Volatile Chemicals that Interfere with Attraction of Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

Abstract

It is known that human individuals show different levels of attractiveness to mosquitoes. In this study, we investigated the chemical basis for low attractiveness. We recorded behaviors of Aedes aegypti toward the hands of human volunteers and toward the volatile chemicals produced by their bodies. Some individuals, and their corresponding volatiles, elicited low upwind flight, relative attraction, and probing activity. Analyzing the components by gas chromatography coupled to electrophysiological recordings from the antennae of Aedes aegypti, enabled the location of 33 physiologically relevant compounds. The results indicated that higher levels of specific compounds may be responsible for decreased “attractiveness.” In behavioral experiments, five of the compounds caused a significant reduction in upwind flight of Aedes aegypti to attractive human hands. Thus, unattractiveness of individuals may result from a repellent, or attractant “masking,” mechanism.

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Acknowledgements

J. G. Logan was supported by a BBSRC Studentship. We thank all the volunteers who participated in this study and Lifesystems™ for providing the foil bags. This study was approved by the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority Local Research Ethics Committee, UK (Reference number: EC03652), and informed consent was obtained from all volunteers. Rothamsted receives grant-aided support from the BBSRC. We also thank Professor Lin Field for her helpful comments on this manuscript.

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Correspondence to John A. Pickett.

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Logan, J.G., Birkett, M.A., Clark, S.J. et al. Identification of Human-Derived Volatile Chemicals that Interfere with Attraction of Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes. J Chem Ecol 34, 308 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-008-9436-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-008-9436-0

Keywords

  • Mosquito
  • Differential attraction
  • Semiochemical
  • Attractant “masking” effect