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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Volatile compounds from the integument of white leghorn chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus L.): candidate attractants of ornithophilic mosquito species

Authors
item Bernier, Ulrich
item Allan, Sandra
item Quinn, Brian
item Kline, Daniel
item Barnard, Donald
item Clark, Gary

Submitted to: Journal of Separation Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 30, 2007
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Bernier, U.R., Allan, S.A., Quinn, B.P., Kline, D.L., Barnard, D.R., Clark, G.G. 2008. Volatile compounds from the integument of white leghorn chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus L.): candidate attractants of ornithophilic mosquito species. Journal of Separation Science. 31:1092-1099.

Interpretive Summary: Recent research into odors from chickens by scientists at the USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL, has led to the identification of chemicals that may be used by mosquitoes to find these birds. The researchers used chemical instrumentation to identify the chemicals in extracts of chickens. Although some mosquitoes do prefer to bite humans, some prefer to feed from birds and bite humans on occasion. The mosquitoes involved in this feeding are known to transmit the West Nile virus to people. It is thought that the reason mosquitoes can tell the difference between a bird and a human is by sensing the odors that each produce. Discovery of chemical attractants for these mosquitoes can lead to the manufacture of attractant lures for use in traps designed to catch mosquito species that transmit West Nile virus. This will improve the surveillance accuracy for mosquito control personnel. Improved accuracy in mosquito trapping will allow for better monitoring of the population of mosquitoes and thereby more accurate prediction of disease risk to specific areas. The primary users of this technology will be researchers and mosquito abatement and control districts.

Technical Abstract: Candidate kairomones of ornithophilic mosquito species are reported from GC/MS analysis of compounds from the skin, feet, and feathers of White Leghorn chickens. Hexane and ether solvent collections of chicken emanations produce fractions that differ significantly in their ability to attract Culex spp. mosquitoes. The active (hexane) extract contained alcohols, ketones and diones as the most abundant compounds present in the volatile region. The inactive (ether) extracts contained aldehydes, which were also present in the hexane extracts. Analysis of hexane extracts from chicken feet, skin and feathers demonstrated the qualitative similarity in the compounds collected with subtle differences observed in the quantitative amounts of these compounds. A concentrated ether extract of feathers indicated that the aldehydes and carboxylic acids were present in a quantitatively similar ratio within each compound class for the corresponding series of C6-C9 aldehydes and acids.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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