Neurotoxicity of fungal volatile organic compounds in Drosophila melanogaster

Arati A. Inamdar, Prakash Masurekar, Joan Wennstrom Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in indoor environment as products of microbial metabolism. In damp indoor environments, fungi are associated with poor air quality. Some epidemiological studies have suggested that microbial VOCs have a negative impact on human health. Our study was designed to provide a reductionist approach toward studying fungal VOC-mediated toxicity using the inexpensive model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, and pure chemical standards of several important fungal VOCs. Low concentrations of the following known fungal VOCs, 0.1% of 1-octen-3-ol and 0.5% of 2-octanone; 2,5 dimethylfuran; 3-octanol; and trans-2-octenal, caused locomotory defects and changes in green fluorescent protein (GFP)- and antigen-labeled dopaminergic neurons in adult D. melanogaster. Locomotory defects could be partially rescued with L-DOPA. Ingestion of the antioxidant, vitamin E, improved the survival span and delayed the VOC-mediated changes in dopaminergic neurons, indicating that the VOC-mediated toxicity was due, in part, to generation of reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-426
Number of pages9
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 19 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • Dopamine
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Fungi
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Sick building syndrome
  • Volatile organic compounds


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