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Parasit Vectors. 2013 Jul 18;6:211. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-211.

The effect of the radio-protective agents ethanol, trimethylglycine, and beer on survival of X-ray-sterilized male Aedes aegypti.

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Department of Biology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA.



Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) has been successfully implemented to control, and in some cases, eradicate, dipteran insect populations. SIT has great potential as a mosquito control method. Different sterilization methods have been used on mosquitoes ranging from chemosterilization to genetically modified sterile male mosquito strains; however, sterilization with ionizing radiation is the method of choice for effective sterilization of male insects for most species. The lack of gentle radiation methods has resulted in significant complications when SIT has been applied to mosquitoes. Several studies report that irradiating mosquitoes resulted in a decrease in longevity and mating success compared to unirradiated males. The present study explored new protocols for mosquito sterilization with ionizing radiation that minimized detrimental effects on the longevity of irradiated males.


We tested three compounds that have been shown to act as radioprotectors in the mouse model system - ethanol, trimethylglycine, and beer. Male Aedes aegypti were treated with one of three chosen potential radioprotectors and were subsequently irradiated with identical doses of long-wavelength X-rays. We evaluated the effect of these radioprotectors on the longevity of male mosquito after irradiation.


We found that X-ray irradiation with an absorbed dose of 1.17 gy confers complete sterility. Irradiation with this dose significantly shortened the lifespan of male mosquitoes and all three radioprotectors tested significantly enhanced the lifespan of irradiated mosquito males.


Our results suggest that treatment with ethanol, beer, or trimethylglycine before irradiation can be used to enhance longevity in mosquitoes.

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