Responses of the putative trachoma vector, Musca sorbens, to volatile semiochemicals from human faeces

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Birkett, M. A., Robinson, A., Bristow, J., Holl, M. V., Makalo, P, Alemayehu, W., Bailey, R., McLeod, D., Caulfield, J. C., Sarah, V., Pickett, J. A., Dewhirst, S. Y., Chen Hussey, V., Woodcock, C. M., D'Alessandro, U., Last, A., Burton, M., Lindsay, S. and Logan, J. G. 2020. Responses of the putative trachoma vector, Musca sorbens, to volatile semiochemicals from human faeces. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 14 (3), p. e0007719.

AuthorsBirkett, M. A., Robinson, A., Bristow, J., Holl, M. V., Makalo, P, Alemayehu, W., Bailey, R., McLeod, D., Caulfield, J. C., Sarah, V., Pickett, J. A., Dewhirst, S. Y., Chen Hussey, V., Woodcock, C. M., D'Alessandro, U., Last, A., Burton, M., Lindsay, S. and Logan, J. G.
Abstract

The putative vector of trachoma, Musca sorbens, prefers to lay its eggs on human faeces on the ground. This study sought to determine whether M. sorbens females were attracted to volatile odours from human faeces in preference to odours from the faeces of other animals, and to determine whether specific volatile semiochemicals mediate selection of the faeces. Traps baited with the faeces of humans and local domestic animals were used to catch flies at two trachoma-endemic locations in The Gambia and one in Ethiopia. At all locations, traps baited with faeces caught more female M. sorbens than control traps baited with soil, and human faeces was the most successful bait compared with soil (mean rate ratios 44.40, 61.40, 10.50 [P<0.001]; 8.17 for child faeces [P = 0.004]). Odours from human faeces were sampled by air entrainment, then extracts of the volatiles were tested by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennography with laboratory-reared female M. sorbens. Twelve compounds were electrophysiologically active and tentatively identified by coupled mass spectrometry-gas chromatography, these included cresol, indole, 2-methylpropanoic acid, butanoic acid, pentanoic acid and hexanoic acid. It is possible that some of these volatiles govern the strong attraction of M. sorbens flies to human faeces. If so, a synthetic blend of these chemicals, at the correct ratios, may prove to be a highly attractive lure. This could be used in odour-baited traps for monitoring or control of this species in trachoma-endemic regions.

Year of Publication2020
JournalPLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Journal citation14 (3), p. e0007719
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0007719
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC studentship
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Jan 2020
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLOS)
ISSN1935-2735

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