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Electrophysiological Recording from Drosophila Trichoid Sensilla in Response to Odorants of Low Volatility.

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Insects rely on their sense of smell to guide a wide range of behaviors that are critical for their survival, such as food-seeking, predator avoidance, oviposition, and mating. Myriad chemicals of varying volatilities have been identified as natural odorants that activate insect Olfactory Receptor Neurons (ORNs). However, studying the olfactory responses to low-volatility odorants has been hampered by an inability to effectively present such stimuli using conventional odor-delivery methods. Here, we describe a procedure that permits the effective presentation of low-volatility odorants for in vivo Single-Sensillum Recording (SSR). By minimizing the distance between the odor source and the target tissue, this method allows for the application of biologically salient but hitherto inaccessible odorants, including palmitoleic acid, a stimulatory pheromone with a demonstrated effect on ORNs involved in courtship and mating behavior1. Our procedure thus affords a new avenue to assay a host of low-volatility odorants for the study of insect olfaction and pheromone communication.

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