Smelly socks 'can fight malaria'

Published: 17th June 2010

Smelly socks 'can fight malaria'
Most people would probably opt for some insect spray or a citronella candle when enjoying a nice evening in the tropics as a way of stopping dreaded mosquitoes having a feast at your expense.

But a team of scientists from the central Netherlands University of Wageningen has shown that a smelly old pair of socks can be just, if not more, effective than the traditional malaria remedies, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports.

Mosquitoes, it seems, are attracted to the pungent aroma of a pair of well-worn sports socks because of a combination of fatty acids, ammonia and lactic acids that are present in foot odour.

Researcher Renate Smallegange said: "I decided to combine these substances in one mixture. The results of the experiment showed that this mixture was very attractive to the mosquito, much more so than the components individually.

"The next question to investigate was how effective it is when compared to odour from human sweat."

Just over the border in Germany socks hit the headlines with a world record attempt at a sock washing line by amusement park workers.

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Posted by Dave Ramsay
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Smelly socks 'can fight malaria'
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