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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Cattle-Derived Unsaturated Aldehydes Repel Biting Midges and Mosquitoes

Isberg, Elin; Ignell, Rickard


Host-derived repellents offer a novel way to reduce disease vector-host interactions, particularly for vectors and nuisance pests where commercial repellents are not available, e.g., Culicoides biting midges. By revising the criteria previously used to identify bioactive volatile organic compounds for Culicoides nubeculosus, we identify (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-heptenal, (E)-2-octenal, and (E)-2-nonenal to be differentially present in the headspace odour of cattle hair and to elicit antennal responses in this research model species. A blend of these unsaturated aldehydes elicited an aversive response in C. nubeculosus, as well as a repellent response in three disease vector mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles coluzzii, a response that was stronger than that to the commercially available repellents tested (DEET, IR3535, PMD, icaridin, and d-allethrin). Culicoides nubeculosus was behaviourally indifferent to these commercially available repellents tested, except d-allethrin to which it was attracted. The identification of a host-derived repellent odour blend, which reduces the interaction between biting midges extends the array of tools to be used in integrated vector management of these and other disease vectors.


Culicoides; Culicidae; Host repellent; Electrophysiology; Behaviour

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2022, Volume: 48, number: 4, pages: 359-369
Publisher: SPRINGER