Ethyl pyruvate inhibits the mosquito's response to CO2, shown here where the spikes diminish
Electrophysiology techniques are used to measure the receptor responses
A control reading of a researcher blowing on a mosquito and causing a peak in receptor activity
Foul-smelling, toxic mosquito repellent could soon become a thing of the past (Photo: Shutterstock)
Methods for controlling mosquitoes usually take two tacks: luring the mosquitoes into a trap away from humans, or discouraging them from biting at the source. Both methods can be expensive, unhealthy, cumbersome, or disgusting (the smell of rancid butter, anyone?) and generally aren’t scalable for the countries that suffer the most from mosquito-borne disease. New research explores how a mosquito’s neurons actually detect humans, and presents a promising class of chemicals, screened for safety, cost, and an appealing scent, some of which attract mosquitoes and others of which mask the smell of tasty human skin.
Other Images from this Gallery