Discrimination of oilseed rape volatiles by honey bee: Novel combined gas chromatographic-electrophysiological behavioral assay

Abstract

A novel technique for the simultaneous monitoring of electroan-tennogram (EAG) and conditioned proboscis extension (CPE) responses of honey bees to the effluent from a gas chromatograph (GC) was developed to locate biologically active components in blends of plant volatiles and to investigate odor recognition at the peripheral and behavioral levels. A six-component mixture, comprising compounds previously identified as oilseed rape floral volatiles, was used as the stimulus. Standard CPE and EAG recordings were done as a reference. EAG responses were elicited from unconditioned bees by all the components presented either in the coupled or the standard mode. Conditioned bees gave larger EAG responses than unconditioned bees, suggesting that antennal sensitivity is enhanced by conditioning. At the behavioral level, in both the standard and the coupled modes, only conditioned bees showed the proboscis extension response, with the majority of individuals responding to linalool, 2-phenylethanol, and benzyl alcohol.

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