Unveil the sugar diet and associated environmental compounds in the crop of the mosquito Culex pipiens

B Leyva, M Brustolin, R Müller, F Yon

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Culex pipiens (Linnaeus, 1758) mosquitoes search plant sources of sugars to cope with the energetic demand of various physiological processes. The crop as part of the digestive system is devoted to the storage of sugar-based meal obtained from various nectars sources. The profiling of sugars and metabolites in the Culex pipiens’ crop is scarce, and only few studies used Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), which provides broad detection for biomonitoring environmental substances and even contaminants in the sugar diet of mosquitoes populations.

Therefore, sugar and metabolite profiling were performed on crops obtained from mosquitoes exposed to plant nectar under laboratory or natural conditions by Ultra High-Performance LC-MS (UHPLC-MS). This method allowed us a precise quantitative and qualitative identification of sugar diet and associated environmental compounds in the crop of the mosquito C. pipiens. Under laboratory condition, mosquitoes were allowed to feed on either glucose solution, commercially-available flowers or field collected flowers. In addition, we collected mosquitoes from the field to compare those crop metabolomes with metabolome patterns occurring after nectar feeding in the lab.

The sugar quantities and quality obtained from the crops of mosquitoes collected in the field were similar to those crops obtained from mosquitoes that fed on commercially-available flowers and from field collected flowers with a limit of detection of 10 μg/L for sucrose, glucose and sucrose. Next to sugar compounds, we identified 2 types of amino acids, 12 natural products, and 9 pesticides.

Next to the diversity of sugar compounds, we could confirm that secondary metabolites and environmental pollutants are typically up taken from floral nectar sources by C. pipiens. The in-depth knowledge on mosquito–plant interactions may inspire the development and further optimization of mosquito trap systems and arboviral surveillance systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e26565
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Artificial feeding bioassays
  • Culex pipiens
  • Metabolomic profile
  • Mosquito crop
  • Mosquito-plant interaction
  • Sugar feeding


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