Evaluation of a simple polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-based membrane for blood-feeding of malaria and dengue fever vectors in the laboratory

Siria, D. J., Batista, E. P.A., Opiyo, M. A., Melo, E. F., Sumaye, R. D., Ngowo, H. S. , Eiras, A. E. and Okumu, F. O. (2018) Evaluation of a simple polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-based membrane for blood-feeding of malaria and dengue fever vectors in the laboratory. Parasites and Vectors, 11, 236. (doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-2823-7) (PMID:29642937) (PMCID:PMC5896090)

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Background: Controlled blood-feeding is essential for maintaining laboratory colonies of disease-transmitting mosquitoes and investigating pathogen transmission. We evaluated a low-cost artificial feeding (AF) method, as an alternative to direct human feeding (DHF), commonly used in mosquito laboratories. Methods: We applied thinly-stretched pieces of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes cut from locally available seal tape (i.e. plumbers tape, commonly used for sealing pipe threads in gasworks or waterworks). Approximately 4 ml of bovine blood was placed on the bottom surfaces of inverted Styrofoam cups and then the PTFE membranes were thinly stretched over the surfaces. The cups were filled with boiled water to keep the blood warm (~37 °C), and held over netting cages containing 3–4 day-old inseminated adults of female Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae (s.s.) or Anopheles arabiensis. Blood-feeding success, fecundity and survival of mosquitoes maintained by this system were compared against DHF. Results: Aedes aegypti achieved 100% feeding success on both AF and DHF, and also similar fecundity rates (13.1 ± 1.7 and 12.8 ± 1.0 eggs/mosquito respectively; P > 0.05). An. arabiensis had slightly lower feeding success on AF (85.83 ± 16. 28%) than DHF (98.83 ± 2.29%) though these were not statistically different (P > 0.05), and also comparable fecundity between AF (8.82 ± 7.02) and DHF (8.02 ± 5.81). Similarly, for An. gambiae (s.s.), we observed a marginal difference in feeding success between AF (86.00 ± 10.86%) and DHF (98.92 ± 2.65%), but similar fecundity by either method. Compared to DHF, mosquitoes fed using AF survived a similar number of days [Hazard Ratios (HR) for Ae. aegypti = 0.99 (0.75–1.34), P > 0.05; An. arabiensis = 0.96 (0.75–1.22), P > 0.05; and An. gambiae (s.s.) = 1.03 (0.79–1.35), P > 0.05]. Conclusions: Mosquitoes fed via this simple AF method had similar feeding success, fecundity and longevity. The method could potentially be used for laboratory colonization of mosquitoes, where DHF is unfeasible. If improved (e.g. minimizing temperature fluctuations), the approach could possibly also support studies where vectors are artificially infected with blood-borne pathogens.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded in part by a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Research Fellowship (Grant WT102350/Z/13/Z) awarded to FOO. AEE was funded by Brazilian funding agencies, MCTI-CNPq/ MEC-CAPES/ MS-Decit. Both FOO and DJS are also supported by Medical Research Council (Grant number 74581).
Keywords:Aedes aegypti, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles gambiae (s.s.), artificial feeding, blood-feeding success, fecundity, membrane feeding, survival.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ngowo, Halfan and Okumu, Professor Fredros
Authors: Siria, D. J., Batista, E. P.A., Opiyo, M. A., Melo, E. F., Sumaye, R. D., Ngowo, H. S., Eiras, A. E., and Okumu, F. O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Parasites and Vectors
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1756-3305
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Parasites and Vectors 11: 236
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
745811Development of a new tool for malaria mosquito surveillance to improve vector controlHeather FergusonMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/P025501/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED