VERO BEACH---Dov Borovsky wants to put mosquitoes on a diet.
Under the Borovsky three-day diet plan, legions of anorexic little buzzers would just starve to death. And that's exactly the idea.
The University of Florida scientist says a mosquito "diet pill" he has perfected alters mosquito digestion, making it impossible for them to feed, lay eggs or survive.
As a mosquito control breakthrough, the diet pill could save lives.
"We hope this can stop the advance of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases," said Borovsky, an insect biochemical and molecular biologist at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, a part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "It works on all mosquitoes, all over the world."
In the mosquito control war, mosquitoes are winning. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes. Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases infect about 700 million people each year and kill 3 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
But the diet pill, which could be on the market within a year, is a promising new weapon, not only because it is wickedly efficient but because it also is safe for the environment.
And this diet plan is no secret. Borovsky is quite willing to share his recipe for mosquito death.
First, take 100,000 mosquito ovaries, dried and crushed into a powder that contains their digestive control hormone. From the nearest pool or pond, scrape off the green scum, also known as chlorella, an algae. Insert the hormone into the chlorella, make it into a pill, then place the pill into any water body where mosquitoes are known to breed. Then watch the larvae feast on the chlorella. Famine follows.
Borovsky said when he first pulled out mosquito ovaries, homogenized them and inserted them back into mosquitoes, he found that the mosquitoes produced no more eggs.
"So at first we thought we had a birth control pill," Borovsky said. "But then we found that the reason they were not producing eggs was b
Contact: Cindy Spence
University of Florida