Natures wonders: Malaria parasite uses perfume (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 23:39 (1640 days ago) @ David Turell

The malaria parasite lives in mosquitos and attracts them using a perfume compound made by chloroplasts:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/malaria-parasite-attracts-mosquitoes-...

"But here's where things get weird. Plasmodium—the malaria parasite—also manufactures those alluring odor molecules, called terpenes. It does so using a chloroplast-like organelle, like the one plants use to capture sunlight. The malaria parasite's version can't trap light, but it can still manufacture plant perfume. The study appears in the journal mBio. [Megan Kelly et al., Malaria Parasites Produce Volatile Mosquito Attractants]

" The parasites produce these scents in the lab, and mosquitoes are attracted to them. The only question left for Odom and her colleagues is whether these chemicals also appear in the breath of infected humans. If they do, she says, the goal is to build a quick breathalyzer test for malaria, instead of the blood test used today—which would attract doctors to a patient in need before the next mosquito comes to bite."


Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum