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Coconut scent drives away mosquitoes? Know what this study found – Times of India


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From scented agarbattis to repellants, our houses are no less than small laboratories during that time of the year when mosquitoes are the most active. While some of these experimental methods work well, but in the process we inhale lots of dangerous chemicals.
What a small study has found recently can change the way we have been dealing with mosquitoes. The study published in the journal iScience has found that coconut scent can actually keep mosquitoes off a person.
The study found that soap scent alters the host odor profile. For the study the researchers used four soap brands, popular in the United States. “We analyzed their effect on human skin odor profiles using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and on the behavioral response to human odors by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti,” the research paper says.

The researchers found that the kind of soap you use might make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Among the different scents of soaps, coconut scented soaps were found to be effective in keeping mosquitoes away. They also found that soap which was fruity smelling and had citrus smells attracted the mosquitoes more.
Applying flowery and fruity scents on our bodies blurs the lines between humans and plants for mosquitoes, Dr Clément Vinauger, who led the work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University told The Straits Times.
“Plants emit a wide array of volatile organic compounds including terpenes, esters, aldehydes, alcohols, and acids, that are detectable by mosquitoes,” the researchers have explained and have added that “the next most remarkable effect of soap applications observed here was the extensive increase in the relative amounts of terpenes in the host profile.”
They have said that certain terpenes have repellant effects. “The soap-specific composition and concentration of terpenes are thus likely to be an important driver of the resulting modulation of mosquito attraction to the host,” they have said.

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