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Natural Odor Processing in Fruit Flies

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Fruit flies show a strong attraction to fruit odors. Most fruit odors, including strawberry scent, are complex multimolecular mixtures comprised of many chemically distinct constituents. How animals are able to process these mixtures and derive behaviorally relevant information is

Fruit flies show a strong attraction to fruit odors. Most fruit odors, including strawberry scent, are complex multimolecular mixtures comprised of many chemically distinct constituents. How animals are able to process these mixtures and derive behaviorally relevant information is largely unknown. A new procedure was created to test odor preference for Heisenberg canton-s strain of Drosophila melanogaster. 30 flies were cold anesthetized at 4.2°C for 30 minutes and then placed in a testing arena. After acclimating for 45 minutes, the flies were exposed to two sources of air, one with ripe strawberry odor and one with only humidified air. Images were captured every minute for an hour and a preference index was calculated for every 10th image. The Drosophila had a positive average preference for the strawberry odor. Five out of six trials showed a general increase in odor preference over the course of the trial. While there was a generally positive trend for average preference over time, there was not a significant increase in average odor preference from time 1 to time 60. The data indicates that Drosophila show a preference for strawberry odor over humidified air, and we propose to extend this test to investigate how Drosophila process and react to complex odors and their chemical constituents.

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2017-05

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The Sensory Basis of Olfactory Detection in the Dampwood Termite, Zootermopsis Nevadensis

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ABSTRACT Communication is vital in the context of everyday life for all organisms, but particularly so in social insects, such as Z. nevadensis. The overall lifestyle and need for altruistic acts of individuals within a colony depends primarily on intracolony

ABSTRACT Communication is vital in the context of everyday life for all organisms, but particularly so in social insects, such as Z. nevadensis. The overall lifestyle and need for altruistic acts of individuals within a colony depends primarily on intracolony chemical communication, with a focus on odorants. The perception of these odorants is made possible by the chemoreceptive functions of sensilla basiconica and sensilla trichoid which exist on the antennal structure. The present study consists of both a morphological analysis and electrophysiological experiment concerning sensilla basiconica. It attempts to characterize the function of neurons present in sensilla basiconica through single sensillum recordings and contributes to existing literature by determining if a social insect, such as the dampwood termite, is able to perceive a wide spectrum of odorants despite having significantly fewer olfactory receptors than most other social insect species. Results indicated that sensilla basiconica presence significantly out-paced that of sensilla trichoid and sensilla chaetica combined, on all flagellomeres. Analysis demonstrated significant responses to all general odorants and several cuticular hydrocarbons. Combined with the knowledge of fewer olfactory receptors present in this species and their lifestyle, results may indicate a positive association between the the social complexity of an insect's lifestyle and the number of ORs the individuals within that colony possess.

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2015-05

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Nestmate Recognition in Camponotus is Affected by the Structure of Added Hydrocarbons

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Olfactory discrimination tasks can provide useful information about how olfaction may have evolved by demonstrating which types of compounds animals will detect and respond to. Ants discriminate between nestmates and non-nestmates by using olfaction to detect the cuticular hydrocarbons on

Olfactory discrimination tasks can provide useful information about how olfaction may have evolved by demonstrating which types of compounds animals will detect and respond to. Ants discriminate between nestmates and non-nestmates by using olfaction to detect the cuticular hydrocarbons on other ants, and Camponotus floridanus have particularly clear and aggressive responses to non-nestmates. A new method of adding hydrocarbons to ants, the “Snow Globe” method was further optimized and tested on C. floridanus. It involves adding hydrocarbons and a solvent to a vial of water, vortexing it, suspending hydrocarbon droplets throughout the solution, and then dipping a narcotized ant in. It is hoped this method can evenly coat ants in hydrocarbon. Ants were treated with heptacosane (C27), nonacosane (C29), hentriacontane (C31), a mixture of C27/C29/C31, 2-methyltriacontane (2MeC30), S-3-methylhentriacontane (SMeC31), and R-3-methylhentriacontane (RMeC31). These were chosen to see how ants reacted in a nestmate recognition context to methyl-branched hydrocarbons, R and S enantiomers, and to multiple added alkanes. Behavior assays were performed on treated ants, as well as two untreated controls, a foreign ant and a nestmate ant. There were 15 replicates of each condition, using 15 different queenright colonies. The Snow Globe method successfully transfers hydrocarbons, as confirmed by solid phase microextraction (SPME) done on treated ants, and the behavior assay data shows the foreign control, SMeC31, and the mixture of C27/29/31 were all statistically significant in their differences from the native control. The multiple alkane mixture received a significant response while single alkanes did not, which supports the idea that larger variations in hydrocarbon profile are needed for an ant to be perceived as foreign. The response to SMeC31 shows C. floridanus can respond during nestmate recognition to hydrocarbons that are not naturally occurring, and it indicates the nestmate recognition process may simply be responding to any compounds not found in the colony profile and rather than detecting particular foreign compounds.

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2021-05

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Mice Olfaction and Habituation on Strawberries through Utilization of an Odorized Hole-Board Arena

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The mammalian olfactory system is commonly studied by using the mouse as a model system. Odor habituation is used to investigate odor perception and learning processes. Most previous experimental preparations have been tedious, requiring a researcher to manually change odorants,

The mammalian olfactory system is commonly studied by using the mouse as a model system. Odor habituation is used to investigate odor perception and learning processes. Most previous experimental preparations have been tedious, requiring a researcher to manually change odorants, record investigation time and duration at each odorant, or physical alteration on the mice to enable video tracking. These limitations were overcame by creating an odorized hole-board to allow for systematic and automatic recording of olfactory behavior in mice. A cohort of five male mice were utilized in these experiments and the responses to the odor of strawberries, a diet staple of wile mice, were examined. Experiment 1 showed that free-feeding mice exhibit a preference to locations with strawberry (over control locations), even when these locations can only be identified using olfaction. This preference habituates within a trial but not across days. Experiment 2 showed that strawberry odor without reward causes habituation or extinction to the odor both within trials and across days. From these experiments, it can be concluded that mice innately explore strawberry odor and this can be exploited to the study odor habituation using an odorized hole-board.

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2016-12