Compounds from human odor induce attraction and landing in female yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti)

Sci Rep. 2022 Sep 21;12(1):15638. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-19254-w.


The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is a vector of many human diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, and Zika. Transmission of these viruses occurs when an infected female mosquito locates a suitable human host, alights, and blood feeds. Aedes aegypti use human-emitted odors, as well as heat and visual cues, for host location. However, none of the previously identified human-produced compounds induce significant orientation and landing on a human host. Here we show that female yellow fever mosquitoes orient to and land on a mixture of compounds identified from human skin rubbings. Using odor collection, extraction, a two-choice, bioassay-guided fractionation, and chemical analysis, we identified mixtures of 2-ketoglutaric acid and L-lactic acid as landing attractants for female Ae. aegypti. The mixture of pyruvic acid and L-lactic acid were also found to be weakly attractive. Using ratio-response assays, we found that the attraction and alighting behaviors of the mosquitoes were directly related to the ratio of these compounds presented on the surface of the glass assay beads, suggesting that these compounds could mediate landing on a human host even at sub-nanogram dosages. The newly identified compounds fill a gap in our knowledge of odor-mediated attraction of Ae. aegypti and may lead to the development of new attractant-based mosquito control tactics.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ketoglutaric Acids
  • Lactic Acid
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Odorants
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Yellow Fever*
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus*


  • Ketoglutaric Acids
  • Lactic Acid
  • Pyruvic Acid