Washington: Do you know why mosquitoes getattracted towards us? American scientists have found thathumans and birds produce a dominant odour that invites theblood-sucking insects.
Authors Walter Leal and Zain Syed said, "Nonanal is howthey find us. The antennae of the Culex are highly developedto detect even extremely low concentrations of the chemical". Mosquitoes detect smells with the olfactory receptorneurons of their antennae, the Science Daily said. Leal said, "Birds, the main hosts of mosquitoes, serveas the reservoir for the West Nile virus. When infectedmosquitoes take a blood meal, they transmit the virus to theirhosts, which include birds, humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats,chipmunks, skunks, squirrels and domestic rabbits". The researchers tested hundreds of naturally occurringcompounds emitted by people and birds. They collected chemicalodours from 16 adult human subjects, representing multipleraces and ethnic groups. "We then determined the specificity and sensitivity ofthe olfactory receptor neurons to the isolated compounds onthe antennae of the mosquitoes," Syed said, adding "we foundnonanal acts synergistically with carbon dioxide, a knownmosquito attractant". He said, "We baited mosquito traps with a combinationof nonanal and carbon dioxide and we were drawing in as manyas 2,000 a night in Yolo County, near Davis". "Nonanal, in combination with carbon dioxide, increasedtrap captures by more than 50 percent, compared to trapsbaited with carbon dioxide alone," he added.PTI
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