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Olfactory detectability of l-amino acids in the European honeybee (Apis mellifera)

Linander, Nellie LU ; Hempel de ibarra, Natalie and Laska, Matthias (2012) In Chemical Senses 37(7). p.631-638
Abstract
The honeybee is one of several insect model systems for the study of olfaction, yet our knowledge regarding the spectrum of odorants 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 the odor of amino acids is detectable for honeybees and determined olfactory detection thresholds for those amino acids that were detectable. We found that honeybees are able to detect the odor of 5 of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids when presented at a concentration of 50 or 100 mM. Median olfactory detection thresholds for these 5 amino acids were 12.5 mM with L-tyrosine... (More)
The honeybee is one of several insect model systems for the study of olfaction, yet our knowledge regarding the spectrum of odorants 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 the odor of amino acids is detectable for honeybees and determined olfactory detection thresholds for those amino acids that were detectable. We found that honeybees are able to detect the odor of 5 of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids when presented at a concentration of 50 or 100 mM. Median olfactory detection thresholds for these 5 amino acids were 12.5 mM with L-tyrosine and L-cysteine, 50 mM with L-tryptophan and L-asparagine, and 100 mM with L-proline. All detection thresholds were much higher 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 detectability of and sensitivity to amino acids suggest that the number of functional genes coding for olfactory receptors may affect both a species' sensitivity for odorants and the breadth of its spectrum of detectable odorants.

© The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Amino acids, Apis mellifera, Detection, Honeybee, Olfaction, Sensitivity
in
Chemical Senses
volume
37
issue
7
pages
631 - 638
publisher
Oxford University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84864863745
ISSN
1464-3553
DOI
10.1093/chemse/bjs044
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
e925fde9-df4c-4a0d-a9f3-b2d0e17c0d22 (old id 3052989)
date added to LUP
2012-09-17 12:32:23
date last changed
2017-03-12 03:06:05
@article{e925fde9-df4c-4a0d-a9f3-b2d0e17c0d22,
  abstract     = {The honeybee is one of several insect model systems for the study of olfaction, yet our knowledge regarding the spectrum of odorants 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 the odor of amino acids is detectable for honeybees and determined olfactory detection thresholds for those amino acids that were detectable. We found that honeybees are able to detect the odor of 5 of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids when presented at a concentration of 50 or 100 mM. Median olfactory detection thresholds for these 5 amino acids were 12.5 mM with L-tyrosine and L-cysteine, 50 mM with L-tryptophan and L-asparagine, and 100 mM with L-proline. All detection thresholds were much higher 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 detectability of and sensitivity to amino acids suggest that the number of functional genes coding for olfactory receptors may affect both a species' sensitivity for odorants and the breadth of its spectrum of detectable odorants. <br/><br>
© The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Linander, Nellie and Hempel de ibarra, Natalie and Laska, Matthias},
  issn         = {1464-3553},
  keyword      = {Amino acids,Apis mellifera,Detection,Honeybee,Olfaction,Sensitivity},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {631--638},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {Chemical Senses},
  title        = {Olfactory detectability of l-amino acids in the European honeybee (Apis mellifera)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjs044},
  volume       = {37},
  year         = {2012},
}