Smell That? The effects of Aromatherapy on Drosophila melanogaster Behavior

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Authors
Holmes, Macie
Wald, Elliot
Advisor
Otto-Hitt, Stefanie
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Date of Issue
2024
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Title
Smell That? The effects of Aromatherapy on Drosophila melanogaster Behavior
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Abstract
Homeopathic remedies are hailed as non-pharmacological, cheap alternatives to more expensive pharmaceutical treatments. Essential oils are an example of a homeopathic therapy that people use to improve their moods or boost their energy. Currently, there is a lack of research surrounding the quantitative effects of essential oils on mood and energy, as most reports about their functionality are qualitative. In this study, different aromatherapy treatments were tested on the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) to see how they impacted fly behaviors related to energy and mood. The oils tested were pure lavender, which claims to have a calming effect, and lemon, which claims to have an energizing effect. To generate doses that were physiologically relevant for the fruit flies, these extracts were diluted in a carrier jojoba oil. To observe the effects of these essential oils on fly behavior, three assays were performed to measure energy levels, feeding behavior, and grooming behavior. It was expected that the lemon aromatherapy would increase energy, feeding, and grooming behaviors in the flies while the lavender aromatherapy would result in opposing effects. Our findings suggest that both the lemon and lavender treatments caused a significant increase in energy and feeding behavior when compared to control groups.
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Biology