NOV 07, 2018 9:06 AM PST

Why Are Fruit Flies Attracted to Rotting Fruit Smell?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

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
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is 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. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
FEB 14, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Enhancing fluorescence signals from biomarkers using nanotechnology
FEB 14, 2021
Enhancing fluorescence signals from biomarkers using nanotechnology
In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LM ...
MAR 01, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Enhancing photovoltaic efficiency with polymers
MAR 01, 2021
Enhancing photovoltaic efficiency with polymers
New research published in Advanced Functional Materials highlights the most recent advancement in photovoltaic technolog ...
MAR 11, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
MAR 11, 2021
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
A team from the University of Sydney's School of Civil Engineering has designed a method to improve the recycling of ...
APR 09, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
APR 09, 2021
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology have designed a new technique to enhance solar cell efficiency ...
MAY 10, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Using bacteria to produce acetone
MAY 10, 2021
Using bacteria to produce acetone
Research published in AMB Express reports on a manufacturing development from investigators in Japan. The team has desig ...
JUN 13, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
How to 3D print customizable artificial body parts and medical devices
JUN 13, 2021
How to 3D print customizable artificial body parts and medical devices
Researchers from the University of Nottingham have figured out a new 3D printing process technique that allows for the m ...
Loading Comments...