Chemical ecology of interactions between human skin microbiota and mosquitoes

N.O. Verhulst, W. Takken, M. Dicke, G. Schraa, R.C. Smallegange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Microbiota on the human skin plays a major role in body odour production. The human microbial and chemical signature displays a qualitative and quantitative correlation. Genes may influence the chemical signature by shaping the composition of the microbiota. Recent studies on human skin microbiota, using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, found a high inter- and intrapersonal variation in bacterial species on the human skin, which is relatively stable over time. Human body odours mediate the attraction of mosquitoes to their blood hosts. Odours produced by skin microbiota are attractive to mosquitoes as shown by in vitro studies, and variation in bacterial species on the human skin may explain the variation in mosquito attraction between humans. Detailed knowledge of the ecology and genetics of human skin microbiota is needed in order to unravel the evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the interactions between mosquitoes and their hosts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • human axillary odor
  • complete genome sequence
  • human-body odor
  • gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • aedes-aegypti
  • mating preferences
  • staphylococcus-aureus
  • pattern-recognition
  • malaria mosquitos


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