Enhancing Attraction of African Malaria Vectors to a Synthetic Odor Blend

Collins K. Mweresa*, Wolfgang R. Mukabana, Philemon Omusula, Bruno Otieno, Joop J.A. van Loon, Willem Takken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The deployment of odor-baited tools for sampling and controlling malaria vectors is limited by a lack of potent synthetic mosquito attractants. A synthetic mixture of chemical compounds referred to as “the Mbita blend” (MB) was shown to attract as many host-seeking malaria mosquitoes as attracted to human subjects. We hypothesized that this effect could be enhanced by adding one or more attractive compounds to the blend. We tested changes in the capability of MB (ammonia + L-lactic acid + tetradecanoic acid +3-methyl-1-butanol + carbon dioxide) to attract host-seeking malaria mosquitoes by addition of selected dilutions of butyl-2-methylbutanoate (1:10,000), 2-pentadecanone (1:100), 1-dodecanol (1:10,000), and butan-1-amine (1:10,000,000). The experiments were conducted in semi-field enclosures and in a village in western Kenya. In semi-field enclosures, the attraction of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto females to MB-baited traps was not enhanced by adding butyl-2-methylbutanoate. There was, however, an increase in the proportion of An. gambiae caught in traps containing MB augmented with the selected dilutions of butan-1-amine, 2-pentadecanone, and 1-dodecanol. When tested in the village, addition of butan-1-amine to MB enhanced catches of female An. gambiae sensu lato, An. funestus, and Culex mosquitoes. 1-Dodecanol increased attraction of An. gambiae s.l. to the MB, while addition of 2-pentadecanone improved trap catches of An. funestus and Culex mosquitoes. This study demonstrates the possibility of enhancing synthetic odor blends for trapping the malarial mosquitoes An. gambiae s.l. and An. funestus, as well as some culicine species. The findings provide promising results for the optimization and utilization of synthetic attractants for sampling and controlling major disease vectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-516
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Anopheles funestus
  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Attractant
  • Host-seeking behavior
  • Mosquito
  • Olfaction
  • Synthetic odor
  • 016-3957

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