Artificial Mosquito Diet for New Vector Control Approaches
Dawn Wesson and Sam Jameson of Tulane University in the U.S. will develop an artificial meal for mosquitoes based on algae as a protein source that can be freeze dried and stored in blister packs, and refine their reusable feeding system. Mosquitoes are currently laboratory reared using expensive and difficult to obtain mammalian blood to ensure adequate numbers of offspring for studying. They proposed that a spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) would be an ideal candidate for feeding mosquitoes due to it being a complex protein source, easy to mass produce, and dark in color, which is a feeding cue for mosquitoes. They will supplement it with insect juvenile hormone, which stimulates egg production, sugar and salt, and test its palatability and effect on egg production in a number of different mosquito species using iterations of their meal delivery system compared to human blood.