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Enhancing Attraction of African Malaria Vectors to a Synthetic Odor Blend

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Abstract

The deployment of odor-baited tools for sampling and controlling malaria vectors is limited by a lack of potent synthetic mosquito attractants. A synthetic mixture of chemical compounds referred to as “the Mbita blend” (MB) was shown to attract as many host-seeking malaria mosquitoes as attracted to human subjects. We hypothesized that this effect could be enhanced by adding one or more attractive compounds to the blend. We tested changes in the capability of MB (ammonia + L-lactic acid + tetradecanoic acid +3-methyl-1-butanol + carbon dioxide) to attract host-seeking malaria mosquitoes by addition of selected dilutions of butyl-2-methylbutanoate (1:10,000), 2-pentadecanone (1:100), 1-dodecanol (1:10,000), and butan-1-amine (1:10,000,000). The experiments were conducted in semi-field enclosures and in a village in western Kenya. In semi-field enclosures, the attraction of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto females to MB-baited traps was not enhanced by adding butyl-2-methylbutanoate. There was, however, an increase in the proportion of An. gambiae caught in traps containing MB augmented with the selected dilutions of butan-1-amine, 2-pentadecanone, and 1-dodecanol. When tested in the village, addition of butan-1-amine to MB enhanced catches of female An. gambiae sensu lato, An. funestus, and Culex mosquitoes. 1-Dodecanol increased attraction of An. gambiae s.l. to the MB, while addition of 2-pentadecanone improved trap catches of An. funestus and Culex mosquitoes. This study demonstrates the possibility of enhancing synthetic odor blends for trapping the malarial mosquitoes An. gambiae s.l. and An. funestus, as well as some culicine species. The findings provide promising results for the optimization and utilization of synthetic attractants for sampling and controlling major disease vectors.

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Acknowledgments

We thank David Odhiambo Alila for rearing mosquitoes used for semi-field experiments. We also appreciate Andrew Brian Abuya for aspirating mosquitoes, Charles A. Oketch for working with Philemon during field experiments, and George Odhiambo Opetu for providing field meteorological data. This study was funded by a grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) through the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative (GCGH #121) and a sandwich PhD scholarship of Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands (CKM). CKM was hosted by icipe-TOC as a as a dissertation research internship scholar.

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Correspondence to Collins K. Mweresa.

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Mweresa, C.K., Mukabana, W.R., Omusula, P. et al. Enhancing Attraction of African Malaria Vectors to a Synthetic Odor Blend. J Chem Ecol 42, 508–516 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-016-0711-1

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