A team of American scientists from Rockefeller University in New York defined the chemical compounds in human blood that are responsible for attracting mosquitoes, this laying the foundation for finding a drug that could make people less attractive to mosquitoes.
According to the statement, they used genetically modified female mosquitoes for the research, in order to find out which neurons were ignited during the blood test. Only female mosquitoes feed on the blood of mammals, and they need blood to develop eggs. Otherwise, their main food source is plant nectar, as well as thousands of other types of insects, writes the Independent.
However, the habit of sucking blood from mammals, and especially humans, has made mosquitoes the deadliest animal on the planet. More than half a million people die each year from the effects of infectious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and tropical fever, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. U.S. scientists fooled mosquitoes and forced them to switch to sucking blood by offering them a mixture of four chemical compounds developed to mimic the aroma in human blood. In that mixture were glucose, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and adenosine triphosphate.
Scientists can also recognize when mosquitoes act in the normal diet and when in the human blood diet, and they know this because of the needle-like part of their mouths that mosquitoes feed on.
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Fluorescent markers were inserted into their genetically modified female mosquitoes, which glow when a nerve cell is activated, which allowed American scientists to monitor which nerve cells specifically ignite when mosquitoes are offered different food sources. Only one subset of neurons is activated on the aroma of human blood, including real human blood.
“If mosquitoes can’t detect the taste of blood, then in theory they can’t even transmit diseases,” said Veronica Joe, one of the scientists involved in the study.
Her colleague Leslie Vochal, on the other hand, says that their discovery could lead to the development of oral mosquito repellents that would interfere with their blood receptors.
She also pointed out that it may be impossible to fully understand the taste of mosquitoes in humans, that is, human blood. She tried to explain it with the example of bees that see flowers in ultraviolet shades that are invisible to the human eye, or with the example of bats that use inaudible sound waves to orient themselves in space, adding that such a thing does not exist in humans.