Experiment results on feeding Drosphila melanogaster high carotene diets

SludgeMunkey

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With a bit of toying around on June 20th , 2009 I decided to try raising fruit flies on a high carotene media of my own recipe. I figured that if gut loading/dusting pinhead crickets works, why not start at the source and feed the fruit fly maggots on a high carotene diet. I have never been a fan of dusting as I doubt how much of the dust is actually ingested by the pet. I then used my Cynops ensicauda popei morphs to test out my theory, figuring any difference between the diets would show as their ventral colors developed. The results are very interesting!

As aquatic larvae, all were fed the same diet of live daphnia magna, moina, decapsulated brine shrimp,live mosquito larvae, brine shrimp napuli, Hikari brand frozen bloodworms and Hikari brand frozen mysis and brine shrimp. All were fed on the same schedule.

Upon morphing, I separated them into three groups.

Group1 was fed a variety of fruit flies raised on Ed's Fly Meat media), aphids (from my organic garden) and spring tails (started from a sample of the local species).

Group 2 was fed the same, but with the addition of weekly dustings of Rep-Cal brand Herptevite with Beta carotene on the flies.

Group 3 was also fed the same diet, however, I skipped dusting and used the flies from my homemade media.



Here is my fruit fly media recipe:(sorry about the US measurements folks, I do not own an metric cooking gear...so the metric amounts are calculated) You will need to make a trip to the Asian and Mexican Grocer in most places! Also, you should use microwave safe glass dishes for this! Also, all fruit needs to be really ripe!

1 whole ripe Guava
1 medium size ripe Mango
1 ripe Banana
1 Tablespoon (15ml) Gerber Carrots (baby food- contains nothing but carrots and water)
4 tablespoons Mochiko sweet rice flour (60ml)
1/3 teaspoon of Mold Inhibitor (from Ed's Fly Meat)
4 tablespoons of Eden Foods Agar Agar (60ml)
1 tablespoon pure spirulina powder (15ml)
1 bottle of UV sterilized Natural Spring Water

Containers to culture flies in, cleaned and empty.

Wash, peel, and remove seeds/hard parts from fruit as necessary. Cut the fruit up into small pieces and place in a small glass dish.
Mix the mold inhibitor, Agar Agar, Spirulina powder and sweet rice flour in another small glass dish until the result is all the same color.
Add about 1/4 cup spring water (60ml) to fruit pieces and liquefy them in a blender until smooth. You may need to add more water to get the smooth consistency you need, but do so a little at a time.
Once the fruit is smooth, pour it back into it's glass dish, stir in the baby food carrots well, and microwave it on high power for 4 minutes in 45 second intervals. Stir vigorously between each interval.
Once hot, stir in the powder mixture thoroughly. You may need to add a bit more spring water, but do so only a little at a time. The completed mix should be like a syrup. Pour it into your culture containers to a depth of about 1/5 inch (about 13mm). Place the lid on the containers and let it cool over night in the fridge.


Add live fruit flies the next day after the culture media has warmed to room temperature.


Now for the results! I will let the pictures do the talking...
3746201930_501ca5c87f_m.jpg
3745399405_e47cc47e0d_m.jpg
3745399781_16ec5a5d71_m.jpg

Group1 Group2 Group3 All as of today, July 22, 2009.


The little guys are too big for fruit flies to be effective on their own now, so I have added pinhead crickets, gut loaded on my fruit fly media to the feeding cycle. Since this part of the experiment is over, all are being fed the same diet now. In a few months I will report back on this, I am curious if there is still time for the three groups colors to match up or if group 1 will remain less bright.
 
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Azhael

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Very interesting.
I´ve been toying in my head with the idea of adding a carotene suplement to my Achroia cultures. For some reason i´m not sure of, i´m a bit wary it may have a negative effect on the waxworms.
I was thinking on adding Nekton-Rep color which apart from carotene would add vitamins, etc, etc(you know what suplements are...). I pondered the option of using natural carotenes but since these guys eat honey and wheat, i doubt they´d touch anything else(plus the bigger risks of molds and mites and stuff).

I think i´ll give it a try the next time i have to make fresh cultures.
 

Italicus

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this is an very old topic I know, sorry for bringing it back.

regarding the recipe, have you thought about adding tomato paste to it? tomato is rich of licopene, that it is a red carotene, the main one in our blood actually. it may help from turning the orange into red
 
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    Daphnia water fleas, mosquito larvae and any larve will do
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    Red worms
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