Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, but the mechanistic basis of this phenomenon is poorly understood. In the new researchpublished in the journal Cell, US scientists conducted a series of experiments and found that people with a high content of carboxylic acids on their skin bite more often.
Carboxylic acids are organic compounds that are part of the secretion of the sebaceous glands. Their content in the skin of people depends on the characteristics of each individual organism and can vary greatly. At the same time, neither diet, nor age, nor the use of cosmetics affect their level.
In the study, scientists conducted an experiment with 64 volunteers. Each was put on nylon sleeves for 6 hours, which made it possible to collect volatile substances from the skin for analysis. Fragments of this material were later placed in pairs in a mosquito chamber to find out which of the samples would attract more insects.
Later, the most attractive fragments were analyzed for chemical composition. It turned out that the more carboxylic acids were on the fabric, the more attractive it became for mosquitoes. So, the sample with the highest concentration of such compounds in terms of attractiveness coefficient was 4 times higher than the sample in second place, and 100 times – going in last, that is, the least attractive.
Scientists conducted similar experiments several times, with an interval of a couple of months, during which the participants in the experiment changed diets and used hygiene products. The results were identical – cosmetics and consumed products did not play a role.