Odor discrimination using insect electroantennogram responses from an insect antennal array

Kye Chung Park, Samuel A. Ochieng, Junwei Zhu, Thomas C. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Insects have a highly developed olfactory sensory system, mainly based in their antennae, for the detection and discrimination of volatile compounds in the environment. Electroantennogram (EAG) response profiles of five different insect species, Drosophila melanogaster, Heliothis virescens, Helicoverpa zea, Ostrinia nubilalis and Microplitis croceipes, showed different, species-specific EAG response spectra to 20 volatile compounds tested. The EAG response profiles were then reconstructed for each compound across the five insect species. Most of the compounds could be distinguished by comparing the response spectra. We then used a four-antenna array, called a Quadro-probe EAG, to see if we could discriminate among odorants based on the relative EAG amplitudes evoked when the probe was placed in plumes in a wind tunnel and in a field. Stable EAG responses could be simultaneously and independently recorded with four different insect antennae mounted on the Quadro-probe, and different volatile compounds could be distinguished in real time by comparing relative EAG responses with a combination of differently tuned insect antennae. Regardless of insect species or EAG amplitudes, antennae on the Quadro-probe maintained their responsiveness with higher than 1 peak/s of time resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalChemical senses
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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