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Olfactory Detectability of L-Amino Acids in the European Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Center for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter, UK.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5583-2697
2012 (English)In: Chemical Senses, ISSN 0379-864X, E-ISSN 1464-3553, Vol. 37, no 7, 631-638 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The honeybee is one of several insect model systems for the study of olfaction, yet our knowledge regarding the spectrum ofodorants detectable by Apis mellifera is limited. One class of odorants that has never been tested so far are the amino acids,which are important constituents of floral nectar. Using the proboscis extension response paradigm, we assessed whether theodor of amino acids is detectable for honeybees and determined olfactory detection thresholds for those amino acids that weredetectable. We found that honeybees are able to detect the odor of 5 of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids when presented ata concentration of 50 or 100 mM. Median olfactory detection thresholds for these 5 amino acids were 12.5 mM with L-tyrosineand L-cysteine, 50 mM with L-tryptophan and L-asparagine, and 100 mM with L-proline. All detection thresholds were muchhigher than reported concentrations of amino acids in floral nectars. We conclude that in the foraging and feeding context,honeybees are likely to detect amino acids through taste rather than olfaction. Across-species comparisons of the detectabilityof and sensitivity to amino acids suggest that the number of functional genes coding for olfactory receptors may affect botha species’ sensitivity for odorants and the breadth of its spectrum of detectable odorants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2012. Vol. 37, no 7, 631-638 p.
Keyword [en]
amino acids, Apis mellifera, detection, honeybee, olfaction, sensitivity
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80048DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjs044ISI: 000307170600007OAI: diva2:545157

funding agencies|Royal Society||

Available from: 2012-08-17 Created: 2012-08-17 Last updated: 2015-03-06

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