Schistosoma mansoni: identification of chemicals that attract or trap its snail vector, Biomphalaria glabrata

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Science  08 Sep 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4359, pp. 924-926
DOI: 10.1126/science.684418


A new bioassay for chemical attractants of aquatic snails demonstrated that Biomphalaria glabrata could be attracted to or trapped in the vicinity of homogenates of lettuce. Fractionation of homogenates revealed the amino acids glutamate and proline and the primary attractants. Attraction was specific for the L form of glutamate. Proline appeared to stimulate reproductive activity. Glutathione, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and a number of other compounds had no effect. Extracts of lyophilized snail tissue also attracted other snails and may thus contain pheromones. These results permit formulation and testing of controlled-release attractants designed to overcome the repellant effects of slow-release molluscicides, as well as the design of stimulants to be used with no-release poisons.