Drosophila melanogaster odorant receptors as volatile compound detectors in forensic science: a proof-of-concept study

Olivia Leitch, Chris Lennard, Paul Kirkbride, Alisha Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability to detect and identify substances based on the volatile compounds (odors) they emit is relied upon heavily for numerous investigative purposes. Animals have an innate olfactory sensitivity and selectivity that out-performs current instrumentation. This has led to immense interest in their employment as chemical sensors for a range of applications, including forensic science, both as whole organisms and as sensing elements in biosensors. Using electrophysiological and calcium imaging assays, this research examined the response of Drosophila melanogaster olfactory receptors (ORs) to odor compounds significant in forensic science and assessed their potential utility as volatile compound sensors. This investigation illustrated the different sensitivities, selectivities, and sensing features of individual ORs and demonstrated that their employment for detection purposes is feasible. While further research expanding on this study will be required to demonstrate the performance characteristics that an OR-based detection system will ultimately possess, this research provides an encouraging first step towards the goal of utilizing isolated biological ORs as volatile compound sensors in forensic science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7739-7747
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Volume410
Issue number29
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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