This smell makes some people a mosquito magnet

You might be one of those people who unfairly attract mosquitoes. Scientists have just identified the cause of our body odor with the carboxylic acids that originate from the skin.

Female mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others, but the exact origin of the phenomenon remained unknown. However, we know that our exhalations of CO2our heatheat and our body odor plays a role in this attraction. Researchers from the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University focused on the attraction of mosquitomosquito 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 tallow 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 both nylon.

Understand body differences to develop more effective deterrents

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

Another test showed that even mosquitoes with an odor deficit could distinguish between strongly and weakly attractive people, which the researchers had not expected. Despite this, the latter hopes to develop more effective mosquito repellents, for example by applying bacteria from the skin of an unattractive person to the skin of a very attractive person!


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