Synthesizing neurophysiology, genetics, behaviour and learning to produce whole-insect programmable sensors to detect volatile chemicals. Academic Article uri icon


  • Insects have extremely sensitive systems of olfaction. These systems have been explored as potential sensors for odourants associated with forensics, medicine, security, and agriculture application. Most sensors based on insect olfaction utilize associative learning to "program" the insects to exhibit some form of behavioural response to a target odourant. To move to the next stage of development with whole-insect programmable sensors, an examination of how odourants are captured, processed and used to create behaviour is necessary. This review article examines how the neurophysiological, molecular, genetic and behavioural system of olfaction works and how an understanding of these systems should lead the way to future developments in whole-insect programmable sensors.

published proceedings

  • Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev

author list (cited authors)

  • Rains, G., Kulasiri, D., Zhou, Z., Samarasinghe, S., Tomberlin, J., & Olson, D.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Rains, Glen||Kulasiri, Don||Zhou, Zhongkun||Samarasinghe, Sandhyar||Tomberlin, Jeffery||Olson, Dawn

publication date

  • January 2010