NOV 07, 2018 09:06 AM PST

Why Are Fruit Flies Attracted to Rotting Fruit Smell?

Fruit flies are the staple pests in the kitchen during summer. As much as these unwelcomed guests enjoy feeding on fruit and other sugary substances, they are more attracted to the smell of rotting fruit than anything else.

The reason? Specific receptors on their olfactory neurons allow the flies sniff out a main product generated from fruit fermentation--acetic acid. With the presence of yeast and certain types of bacteria, glucose and other six carbon-based monosaccharides are turned into ethanol and then lactic acid, the main ingredient of vinegar. That's why one can trap more flies with vinegar than sugary water. 

What's more interesting, scientists found that the intensity of the vinegar smell emit from rotting fruits need to be in a specific range. The fruit flies become indifferent if the concentration of lactic acid is too low or too high. The right amount of vinegar smell seems to be the indicator of a just-ripe fruit with maximum sugar content.

Source: ACS Reactions via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
OCT 02, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 02, 2018
Here's What'd Happen if We Detonated a Nuclear Bomb in Space
Have you ever wondered what would happen if humankind detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb in space? If so, then this is a video you’ll want to w...
OCT 14, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 14, 2018
Study on Gravitational Waves Limits the Odds That Large Extra Dimensions Exist
Physicists have long suspected that beyond the 3+1 dimensions that we are familiar with, there might exist additional space or time dimensions. But in an a...
NOV 06, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 06, 2018
How do Moths Avoid Being Eaten by Bats? The Secret Might Lie in Their 'Fur'
It’s no secret that bats enjoy munching on moths when they’re feeling a bit hungry, but one thing that has always captivated scientists is how...
NOV 13, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 13, 2018
The Mechanism of a Cell-penetrating Peptide is Revealed
Cells have a barrier around them, which carefully controls what can move across it. That presents a challenge in pharmaceutical design....
NOV 13, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2018
Was Pluto Once Home to Ancient Glaciers?
When NASA’s New Horizons probe conducted its historic fly-by of Pluto in 2015, the American space agency received some of the sharpest photographs de...
DEC 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 24, 2018
Saturn Won't Have its Rings Forever, So Enjoy Them While They Last
If you’ve been following the news lately, then you might’ve heard that Saturn is losing its rings more quickly than astronomers ever realized....
Loading Comments...