A new study published in the Neuron magazine Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York have discovered which compounds in human blood attract mosquitoes and how they can detect them. Your study may pave the way for a drug that can mask the tantalizing taste of human blood.
With the help of genetically modified female mosquitoes and mixtures and preparations, they were able to determine that the needle-like stiletto that the insects use to suck out the blood takes over the tasting. It is full of neurons that recognize the constituents of the blood and trigger intense blood-sucking habits in mosquitoes.
Only female mosquitoes suck blood because they need it for their eggs to develop, but like many insects, they mostly survive on nectar from plants. However, sucking human blood makes the deadliest animal on the planet and brings with it deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever.
Testing blood prescriptions on mosquitoes
The scientists tested various blood recipes containing human blood and sugary mixtures such as nectar on female mosquitoes to see their reaction. They discovered that mosquitoes are like bees and other insects that taste and drink nectar. Compared to blood, however, they do not suck nectar with the same enthusiasm, reported the BGR.
“When a female mosquito pierces the skin, it sucks so hard that the capillaries sometimes collapse,” said Leslie Vosshall of Rockefeller University, the stud’s co-author. “It’s behavior that she reserves specifically for blood.”
The researchers found that mosquitoes activate the stiletto when they encounter various components of the blood. Some of this has been triggered when it comes to close contact with salt or sugar, but it’s different from blood in that fake blood preparations don’t easily fool them.
But when adenosine triphosphate, glucose, salt, and sodium bicarbonate were added to the wrong blood, mosquitoes quickly began to suckle the liquid. The researchers believe the mosquito’s neurons need to be triggered for each ingredient before they retire to a whole-belly meal.
That is, the needle-shaped appendix of mosquitoes is the one who does the tasting. Scientists have called it the “syringe that can taste blood”.
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Development of an oral mosquito repellent
Voshall said her research could eventually lead to an oral mosquito repellent that would affect the taste of the blood, Metro reported.
Veronica Jove, one of the study’s authors, said if mosquitoes can’t taste the blood, they could be prevented from transmitting deadly diseases.
However, Voshall noted that it would be impossible to know that human blood could possibly taste like mosquitos. She compared it to how honey bees see ultraviolet hues that humans cannot see, or how sonar waves can be heard by bats that humans cannot see.
She said that there is nothing like humans like mosquitoes’ experience of sucking blood.
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