Chemical and Nutritional Ecology of Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) as Related to Volatile Organic Compounds and Associated Essential Amino Acids



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This will be the first research aiming to investigate the chemical and nutritional ecology of Lucilia sericata, (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) focusing on 1) carrion resource associated microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) emissions as insect semiochemicals in regulating the olfactory response of adult L. sericata of different biological states, 2) the impact of exposure to these VOCs on the life history related traits of L. sericata adult flies, and 3) effect of carrion associated nutritional resources on blow fly larval performance.

One GFP producing Providencia was successfully constructed to be used to visualize bacteria along the alimentary canal of L. sericata larvae to implement investigation of its impact on the physiology of both L. sericata immature and adults, such as the immature developmental stages, the adult?s potential choice for food location and oviposition. Microbes play an important role in the decomposition processes of carrion associated resources producing volatile compounds (VOCs). L. sericata may use MVOCs as cues to exploit the carrion resource for food, oviposition, mate etc. Proteus and Providencia spp. are among the microbes that break down as well as synthesize the essential amino acids which are the origin of MVOC. Four bacterially produced VOCs, namely DMDS (Dimethyl disulfide), indole, PAA (Phenylacetic acid), and isobutylamine, which are associated with decomposing carrion were used to investigate the olfactory response of L. sericata of different sexes and physiological status to study the regulation of L. sericata behaviors by MVOCs in exploitation of carrion resource.

Attraction and colonization of carrion resource by adult flies are followed by the subsequent development of offspring. Different responses of adult flies to volatile compounds from carrion may reflect larval preferences and performance associated with different carrion resources where they obtain nutrition and develop. In order to better understand the consequences of adult resource site selection on larval performance on the chosen carrion resource, a series of imbalanced diets deficient in essential amino acids of methionine, valine, tryptophan and phenylalanine were used to study larvae performance on carrion associated resource in term of food preferences and development. In order to investigate volatile cues sensing and physiology in L. sericata, DMDS was used to investigate whether the exposure to the volatile cues will also be involved in the regulation of physiology of L. sericata adult in terms of their life span, and defecation.