Haifa University Finds Eco-Friendly Mosquito Control



By: BEV SPRITZER  
Published: July 22nd 2010
in News » Israel

Mosquito

For the first time, scientists have identified the chemical compounds released by a mosquito’s predators, serving to ward off the mosquito and prevent it from laying eggs.

 

This breakthrough could very well help in the fight against mosquito bites in humans.

 

Funded by the Israel Science Foundation, the study claims that introducing these natural chemicals into mosquito breeding sites will elicit a sense of predatory risk in the mosquitoes, and thus, keep them at bay.

 

Scientists hope that further research will yield more eco-friendly alternatives to mosquito repellent.

 

The breakthrough research was developed in Prof. Leon Blaustein's laboratory at the University of Haifa, where previous research showed that the mosquito chemically detects a predator of its offspring in the water, such as the backswimmer (Notonecta maculate), and thus avoids laying eggs there.

 

Until recently, however, the chemical identity of these predator-released compounds was unknown.

 

By comparing the chemicals released by the backswimmer with those released by Anax imperator (another aquatic predator that does not elicit a chemical response from the mosquito), they narrowed down the potential chemicals that do elicit a response.

 

The research group then conducted experiments on potential chemicals released, and found that two of these chemicals deterred the mosquitoes from laying eggs.

 

Applying similar synthetic compounds to mosquito breeding sites (or human skin) would not only result in fewer mosquitoes, but hopefully fewer bites as well, and, if we’re lucky, could one day render the need for mosquito nets obsolete.



Related articles: (mosquito, Haifa University, eco friendly, israel science foundation)
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