'Does my Diet Affect my Perfume?' Identification and Quantification of Cuticular Compounds in Five Drosophila melanogaster Strains Maintained over 300 Generations on Different Diets

Chem Biodivers. 2016 Feb;13(2):224-32. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201500064.


Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in Drosophila melanogaster represent the basis of chemical communication being involved in many important biological functions. The aim of this study was to characterize chemical composition and variation of cuticular profiles in five D. melanogaster strains. These strains were reared for approximately 300 generations on five diets: standard cornmeal medium and substrates prepared with apple, banana, tomato, and carrot. Differences in quantity and/or quality in CHCs were assumed as a result of activation of different metabolic pathways involved in food digestion and adaptations to the particular diet type. In total, independently of sex and strain, 66 chemical compounds were identified. In females of all strains, 60 compounds were identified, while, in males, 47 compounds were extracted. Certain new chemical compounds for D. melanogaster were found. MANOVA confirmed that CHC amounts significantly depend on sex and substrates, as well as on their interactions. Discriminant analysis revealed that flies belonging to 'apple' and 'carrot' strains exhibited the most noticeable differences in CHC repertoires. A non-hydrocarbon pheromone, cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA) also contributed to the variation in the pheromone bouquet among the strains. Variability detected in CHCs and cVA may be used in the explanation of differences in mating behaviour previously determined in analyzed fly strains.

Keywords: Cuticular hydrocarbons; Diet; Drosophila melanogaster; cis-Vaccenyl acetate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / analysis
  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Drosophila melanogaster / chemistry
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oleic Acids / analysis
  • Oleic Acids / metabolism
  • Pheromones / analysis*
  • Pheromones / metabolism


  • Acetates
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Oleic Acids
  • Pheromones
  • cis-vaccenyl acetate