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Impact of sugar composition on meal distribution, longevity, and insecticide toxicity in Aedes aegypti

Airs, Paul M., Kudrna, Katherine E., Bartholomay, Lyric C.
Acta tropica 2019 v.191 pp. 221-227
Aedes aegypti, arabinose, boric acid, cellobiose, chemistry, diverticulum, double-stranded RNA, epithelium, females, gene silencing, ingestion, insecticides, lactose, longevity, maltose, mannose, midgut, nectar, raffinose, rearing, sucrose, toxicity
Toxic Sugar Baits (TSBs) are an inexpensive and field-applicable approach to deliver a variety of insecticides to sugar-seeking mosquitoes. We reasoned that carbohydrate chemistry could alter the performance and efficacy of TSBs. In this study, the uptake, distribution, and survival of female Aedes aegypti provided with twelve different aqueous sugar meals was recorded. Sucrose, a standard control sugar used in mosquito rearing, is always diverted to the ventral diverticulum upon ingestion; but other sugars that might be found in nectar (e.g., maltose, mannose, and raffinose) dispersed to both the diverticulum and midgut. Sugar meals composed of arabinose, lactose, or cellobiose significantly reduced survival of Ae. aegypti compared to sucrose controls, with or without the addition of boric acid insecticide. The addition of arabinose to a TSB comprised of sucrose and boric acid reduced the survival of Ae. aegypti even when non-toxic sugar meals were readily available. In choice assays, Ae. aegypti were equally likely to feed on TSBs containing arabinose despite the toxicity associated with arabinose ingestion. TSBs typically contain broad spectrum insecticides; insecticidal RNA species that induce species-specific gene silencing are a potential alternative. To assess the potential of RNA delivery in a TSB, biodistribution of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), was tracked after per os delivery in different sugar meals. None of the sugars tested facilitated uptake of dsRNA into midgut epithelia or other tissues. Overall, sourcing sugar baits from sources containing sugars with toxic properties may improve TSB efficacy in the field.