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J Chem Ecol. 2012 Jul;38(7):873-81. doi: 10.1007/s10886-012-0150-6. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Analysis and optimization of a synthetic milkweed floral attractant for mosquitoes.

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Department of Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


A pentane extract of flowers of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca (Asclepiadaceae), elicited significant orientation from both male and female Culex pipiens in a dual-port flight olfactometer. Analysis of the extract by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed six major constituents in order of relative abundance: benzaldehyde, (E)-β-ocimene, phenylacetaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, nonanal, and (E)-2-nonenal. Although not all were collected from the headspace profile of live flowers, a synthetic blend of these six compounds, when presented to mosquitoes in the same levels and proportions that occur in the extract, elicited a response comparable to the extract. Subtractive behavioral bioassays demonstrated that a three-component blend consisting of benzaldehyde, phenylacetaldehyde, and (E)-2-nonenal was as attractive as the full blend. These findings suggest the potential use of synthetic floral-odor blends for monitoring or control of both male and female disease-vectoring mosquitoes.

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