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Med Vet Entomol. 1999 Feb;13(1):97-100.

Behavioural mode of action of deet: inhibition of lactic acid attraction.

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Department of Entomology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331, USA.


Using the mosquito Aedes aegypti in a novel olfactometer that measures movement towards and away from a stimulus, we could not confirm that 'deet' is a repellent of mosquitoes. In the absence of a host, deet was an attractant and in the presence of a host, it was an inhibitor of attraction. This inhibition occurred in the gaseous phase and was therefore not the result of the physical properties of deet. We determined that L-lactic acid, a component of human sweat that is an attractant to mosquitoes, is the target of this inhibition, implying that lactic acid may be a bottleneck in the behavioural cascade preceding blood-sucking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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