Journal Article

The Effect of Lactic Acid on Odour-Related Host Preference of Yellow Fever Mosquitoes

Birgit M. Steib, Martin Geier and Jürgen Boeckh

in Chemical Senses

Volume 26, issue 5, pages 523-528
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0379-864X
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1464-3553 | DOI:
The Effect of Lactic Acid on Odour-Related Host Preference of Yellow Fever Mosquitoes

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In a behavioural study we have investigated the role of lactic acid for the host preferences of yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) by comparing the attractiveness of rubbings from the hands of different human individuals and extracts obtained from skin rubbings from different mammals (Bos primigenius f. taurus, Capra aegagrus f. hircus, Felis silvestris f. catus and Homo sapiens). Certain human individuals were consistently more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Addition of lactic acid markedly increased the degree of attractiveness of formerly less attractive human odour samples and they were preferred over those which were originally the most attractive. There was almost no response to animal odour samples. In contrast to human samples, which contain a high amount of lactate, this compound could not be detected in samples from animals. When skin emanations from animals were combined with lactic acid, however, as many mosquitoes responded to odour samples of B. primigenius f. taurus and C. aegagrus f. hircus as did to human odours. All these data demonstrate that olfactory-based host preference of the anthropophilic mosquito A. aegypti is to a large extent due to differences in the amount of lactic acid in the odour samples.

Journal Article.  3968 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology

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