This Smell Turns Some People Into A Mosquito Magnet

You may be one of those people who unfairly attract mosquitoes. Researchers have just identified the reason with the carboxylic acids derived from the skin, characteristics of our body odor.

Female mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others, but the precise origin of the phenomenon remained unknown. However, we know that our exhalations of CO2our heatheat and our body odor play a role in this attraction. Researchers from the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University focused on the attraction of mosquitoesmosquitoes for the smell of human skin, and have identified the people they are most attracted to.

These people have levels ofcarboxylic acidscarboxylic acids higher on their skin. These are substances found in sebum and used by bacteriabacteria of our skin to produce a unique body odor. In a three-year study, participants wore stockings nylonnylon on their forearms for six hours a day (over several days) to “imprint” their body odor. The researchers then observed the behavior of the mosquitoes Aedes Aegypti (vectors of Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow feveryellow fever and chikungunya) to either nylon.

Understanding body differences to develop more effective repellents

One of the volunteers was particularly attractive to mosquitoes, 100 times more than the least attractive of the participants. Moreover, the people most attractive to mosquitoes remained so throughout the durationduration of the study. No less than 50 molecular compounds present in large quantities in the sebum of these people have been identified, including carboxylic acids.

Another test showed that even mosquitoes with olfactory deficits could distinguish between strongly and weakly attractive people, which the scientists did not expect. Despite this, the latter hope to develop more effective repellents against mosquitoes, for example by applying bacteria from the skin of an unattractive person to that of a very attractive person!


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