Spotlight: A Blood-Free Diet to Rear Anopheline Mosquitoes
CCMAR researchers participate in a project financed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to look for blood-free alternative diets to rear anopheline mosquitoes and develop studies in the area of malaria disease. As a result, they have just published a video paper in JOVE and the "r-liq_diet" is part of a patent (PCT/IB2019/052967), which is now being planned to be sold to companies.
What is the overall context in which this research was developed?
Malaria is a life-threatening infectious disease that remains seriously dangerous to world health. The challenges posed by the relative success of malaria control and the rise of other infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes has been a motor for the development of many innovative tools (e.g. genetically modified mosquitoes), but all of them require large-scale production of mosquitoes in laboratory. However, since female mosquitoes feed on fresh vertebrate blood, the use of high blood quantities constitutes a strong drawback as a result of ethical and financial matters. New approaches for blood-free meals that are cheap and, of simple and reproducible formulation are thus a priority to accelerate progress toward eradication of malaria and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. For that reason, we have developed an efficient artificial blood-free diet for Anopheles mosquito rearing in laboratory conditions that can contribute to the global effort of malaria elimination.
What are the main scientific advances/opportunities that this research brings?
The blood-free artificial liquid diet that delivers feeding rates similar to blood and mimics the physiological effects of a fresh vertebrate blood meal. The diet induces ovarian and egg maturation of Anopheles mosquitoes and also produces good larval survival and development of functional adults. The formulated blood-free liquid diet is an important advance towards sustainable mosquito breeding in captivity and will reduce the maintenance costs of mosquito colonies and eliminate the need for fresh vertebrate blood. In addition our diet has also been shown to be suitable to rear other related species blood-feeding mosquitos extending n the scope of the artificial blood meal to rear and control other insect diseases vectors.
To what extent does this research contribute to society and/or business?
The r-liq_diet is part of a patent (PCT/IB2019/052967) and the team is now involved in a program Born for Knowledge to establish a business plan. Possible clients are: research institutes, companies and insectaries that rear blood feeding mosquitoes or other insects.
You can watch the video paper HERE.