None probably loves mosquitoes as they are constantly sucking our blood while transmitting Dengue or Malaria causing microbes into the human body. Mosquitoes annoy some humans more than compared to others. The study was published in ‘cell’, a scientific journal.
A new study published recently revealed that odour from fatty acids underneath our skin may have a connection with some humans being ‘Mosquito magnets’.
Study on Mosquitoes
Popular reasons why someone is a frequent victim of mosquito bites include blood type, blood sugar level, use of garlic or bananas, gender, and age. Though, no credible data backs these popular reasons.
Leslie Vosshall, head of Rockefeller’s Lab of Neurogenetics & Behavior and Maria Elena De Obaldia, a former postdoc in her lab, showed in a study that fatty acids in our skin create an odour that attracts mosquitoes.
“There is high association between possessing high fatty acids in our skin and being a mosquito magnet,” says Vosshall.
In a three-year study, eight individuals were instructed to wear nylon stockings over their forearms for six hours daily. Over the next few years, the nylons were tested against each other in a tournament.
De Obaldia created a two-choice olfactometer assay to test the stockings. It had a plexiglass chamber split into two tubes. Each of the tubes ended in a box holding a stocking.
In the main room, they positioned Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, the principal carriers of Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
In pilot experiments comparing mosquito attraction among all possible pairings of three live human subjects, one subject (subject 33) was significantly more attractive than two others.
The subjects were divided into high and low-attractor groups, and the researchers then asked what made each group unique.
The chemical analysis techniques found fifty molecular components that were higher in the sebum (a moisturising barrier on the skin) of the very attractive participants.
This led them to the conclusion that mosquito magnets produced carboxylic acids in substantially higher amounts than the less attractive participants. These ingredients, which are found in sebum, are utilised by microorganisms on our skin to create our distinctive human body odour.
As per the published paper, “Vosshall’s team enrolled another 56 people to confirm their findings for a validation study. Once again, the Subject 33 was the most attractiuve for mosquitoes”.
The researchers hope their study will inspire researchers to test other mosquito species.