Researchers decode neural mechanisms allowing flies to avoid rotten food.
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We all know that eating toxic foods can be lethal to humans and animals, as it gives bacterial pathogens a way to enter the digestive system and wreak havoc. We can use our sense of smell, however, to identify rotten food. Researchers have recently decoded the neural mechanisms behind a detection system for toxic foods in fruit flies,¬†according to the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. The neural mechanisms help the fruit flies determine which food is unsafe for consumption and their eggs.
Researchers explain that a highly-sensitive neural line is activated as soon as the smallest amount of geosmin is in the air. Geosmin is a substance released by bacteria and mold fungi that are dangerous to the fly. This signal becomes a warning that screams STOP! at the fly louder than all other signals.