Effects of Nicotine and Tobacco-Related Products on the Feeding Behavior of the German Cockroach (Blattodea: Blattellidae)

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Birkett, M. A., Di-Ilio, V. and Pickett, J. A. 2021. Effects of Nicotine and Tobacco-Related Products on the Feeding Behavior of the German Cockroach (Blattodea: Blattellidae). Journal of Insect Science. 21 (11), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieaa147

AuthorsBirkett, M. A., Di-Ilio, V. and Pickett, J. A.

Animals use olfaction to detect developmentally significant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their local
environment. As part of a wider study aiming to demonstrate that the olfactory responses of animals to VOCs can
be modified through the creation of a drug-addicted status and association with a selected VOC, we investigated
nicotine and tobacco smoke particulate (TSP) extract as possible addictive compounds for male German cockroaches,
Blattella germanica (Linnaeus). In feeding experiments using an artificial food stimulus, food treated with TSP extract
was preferred over untreated food. Surprisingly, nicotine, which was expected to be the most important addictive
tobacco component, did not induce noticeable effects on cockroach behavior. Both TSP extract and nicotine were
shown to be phagostimulants. Olfactometry assays that measured odor-mediated insect behavior demonstrated
that male B. germanica did not choose TSP-extract-treated food even when attempts were made specifically to train
them via this modality. These results support a hypothesis that B. germanica needs to consume TSP-containing food
to show a clear preference for this stimulus and that gustatory mechanisms are involved due to compounds present
in the TSP extract.

KeywordsBlattella germanica; Nicotine; Tobacco smoke particulate; Feeding behavior; Behaviour
Year of Publication2021
JournalJournal of Insect Science
Journal citation21 (11), pp. 1-9
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieaa147
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderMarie Sklodowska-Curie Actions
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Mar 2021
PublisherOxford Univ Press Inc

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