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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Sweet attraction: sugarcane pollen-associated volatiles attract gravid Anopheles arabiensis

Wondwosen, Betelehem; Birgersson, Goran; Tekie, Habte; Torto, Baldwyn; Ignell, Rickard; Hill, Sharon R.

Abstract

Background: Anopheles arabiensis is a key vector for the transmission of human malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past 10,000 years, humans have successfully cultivated grasses and altered the landscape, creating An. arabiensis favourable environments that contain excellent habitats for both larvae and adults. Sugarcane is the most expanding agricultural system in sub-Saharan Africa, and is linked to the increased threat of malaria in rural communities. The prolific production and wind dispersal of sugarcane pollen, together with standing pools of water, often provide, as a result of irrigation, a nutrient-rich environment for the offspring of gravid malaria mosquitoes.Results: In the present study, sugarcane pollen-associated volatiles from two cultivars are shown to attract gravid An. arabiensis in a still air two-port olfactometer and stimulate egg laying in an oviposition bioassay. Through combined gas chromatography and electroantennographic detection, as well as combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometric analyses, we identified the bioactive volatiles and generated a synthetic blend that reproduced the full behavioural repertoire of gravid mosquitoes in the Y-tube assay. Two subtractive odour blends, when compared with the full blend, were significantly more attractive. These three and four-component subtractive blends share the compounds (1R)-(+)-a-pinene, nonanal and benzaldehyde, of which, (1R)-(+)-a-pinene and nonanal are found in the attractive odour blends from rice plants and maize pollen. In pairwise comparisons, the rice synthetic odour blend was more attractive to gravid mosquitoes than either of the pollen blends, whereas the pollen blends did not differ in attraction.Conclusions: The attraction of gravid females to sugarcane pollen volatiles demonstrated in this study, together with the previously found grass-associated volatiles, raise the potential of developing a bioactive chimeric blend to attract gravid malaria mosquitoes. This is discussed in relation to the development of novel and cost-effective vector control measures.

Keywords

Mosquitoes; Attraction; Stimulation; Cultivars; Pollen volatiles; Gravid; Oviposition

Published in

Malaria Journal
2018, Volume: 17, article number: 90
Publisher: BIOMED CENTRAL LTD