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Chakraborty , R. and Thakur, TS. and Chauhan, R. and Manzar, Z. and Das , G. and Mitra , A. (2021) Exploring the neural mechanisms of aversion to bitter gourd phytochemicals in insects using Drosophila. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology, 24 (3). pp. 749-758.

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Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.) has compounds that repel insect pests. Unlike conventional pesticides, these compounds are eco-friendly and beneficial for human health. However the mechanisms by which these compounds repel insects and affect their physiology remains poorly known. Here we used Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen) to address these issues. We tested a wild strain, and a laboratory bred Canton S strain. Bitter gourd extract reduced the viability of developing flies, but did not affect survival in adults. Flies avoided bitter gourd extract in a food choice assay, and consumed a significantly low amount of food mixed with bitter gourd – indicating that it acts as an antifeedant. Transgenic flies with impaired aversive taste sensitive neurons showed a reduced aversion towards bitter gourd extract showing that these compounds act through the bitter sensitive gustatory neurons. Finally, flies also retained the memory of consuming bitter gourd extract for at least 24 hours, suggesting an additional cognitive mechanism for long term aversion. Our study provides the first evidence of bitter gourd compounds acting as antifeedants and also as potent reinforcers of aversive memory in drosophilids. We suggest that flies can be used to understand the physiological and neural mechanisms underlying the mode of action of other such phyto-extracts with the goal of developing potent but less harmful pest control formulations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Cell Biology
Depositing User: Mr. Rameshwar Nema
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 06:14
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2021 06:14
URI: http://nccs.sciencecentral.in/id/eprint/1051

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