Comparative study of the cuticular hydrocarbonin queens, workers and males of Ectatommavizottoi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) by Fouriertransform-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy

W.F. Antonialli Junior, S.M. Lima, L.H.C. Andrade, Y.R. Súarez 
Published August 27, 2007
Genet. Mol. Res. 6 (3): 492-499 (2007)

About the author
W.F. Antonialli Junior, S.M. Lima, L.H.C. Andrade, Y.R. Súarez 

Corresponding author
W.F. Antonialli Junior


Fourier transform-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy was applied for the first time, to our knowledge, to distinguish different castes of an ant species. The method was applied directly to the abdomen of queens, workers and males of Ectatomma vizottoi ants, without any special sample preparation. The absorption bands of secondary amide and hydrocarbons were identified; using these as variables in a canonical discriminant analysis we found significant differences between the castes. Queens have a greater hydrocarbon content than do workers and males, which is related to their function in the colony. This tech nique can be used to analyze and distinguish small chemical differences in biological systems, even in opaque samples.

Key words: Infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy, Ectatomma vizottoi, Cuticular hydrocarbon, Castes 

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