As we all know some people are real mosquito magnets, whereas others escape relatively unscathed! There’s always been lots of theories for this, ranging from what you eat to blood type and skin colour etc. Turns out it could actually be your unique skin microbiota’s metabolites which attract the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite your microbiota, not you!
Richard Halfpenny from Staffordshire University reckons that “as pure sweat has no discernible odour, sweating itself may not be responsible for attracting mosquitoes”. So what is responsible? Certainly genetics appear to have some contribution by determining how friendly your skin is to different species of microbes. This variation then leads to different types of volatile metabolites which “is the critical factor in telling mosquitoes how tasty we’d be.”
Exactly what odour mosquitoes prefer is unkown but it’d be useful to know. As the article concludes, “If we could learn this secret, perhaps we could change our skin’s bacterial composition to make ourselves less appetising targets”
Ah, the wonderful world of the human microbiota and microbiome gets more fascinating every day! There has to be some new products in this research.