The Attraction of Anopheles gambiae to Individual Samples and Combinations of Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis

The purpose of this experiment was to quantify mosquito attraction to the skin bacteria of Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis, along with combinations of two of these bacteria, and a mixture of all three. The experiment further proved which naturally occurring skin bacteria attracts mosquitoes, and then determined that a healthy balance of bacteria can help to repel mosquitoes. This will provide insight into future methods of repelling mosquitoes as well as help the fight against diseases carried by mosquitoes, such as malaria.

The experiment was conducted by growing the seven different bacteria samples: the individual bacterium, combinations of two bacteria, and a combination of all three bacteria. Two Petri dishes of the same sample type, along with two Petri dishes of a plain nutrient agar control, were placed in a cage of mosquitoes (provided by Michigan State University) on a heating pad, which helped the bacteria simulate a live blood source. Trials lasted ten minutes, and the number of mosquitoes that touched each plate determined how attractive that sample was. After statistical analysis of the data, it was concluded that the more bacteria types in a sample, the less attractive the sample will be to mosquitoes. The attractive smell of each individual bacterium is masked by the smell of the other bacteria, making combination samples less attractive overall.

Research Conducted By:

Kristen Lidwell
Sterling Heights High School

Jessa Webber
Cousino High School