It is well known that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. In an article of the sueddeutsche zeitung I learned that this has however nothing to do with the taste of the blood, it is the composition of the skin microbiome.
Researchers around the group of the Dutch insect expert Niels Verhulst published that Anopheles gambiae, the main carrier of malaria in Africa is attracted by odours, produced by certain bacteria of the skin microbiome.
Blends produced by some bacterial species were more attractive than those of others. Test persons that had a high amount of Staphylococcus on their skin were attractant, while test persons carrying Pseudomonas aeruginosa produced odours that were repellent for the insects.
As a consequence these volatiles could be synthesized and used as mosquito attractants or repellents.
Recently we discussed already the importance of the gut microbiome. It becomes more and more obvious that we cannot regard our body as a single human being, we are part of a large community living in and on us, with all the consequences it may have.
What will come next?