Temporal stability of primate scent samples

Poirier, Alice C., Waterhouse, John S., Dunn, Jacob C. and Smith, Andrew C. (2021) Temporal stability of primate scent samples. SN Applied Sciences, 3. p. 456. ISSN 2523-3971

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42452-021-04455-1


A common recommendation in the field of animal chemosignaling is to store and transport scent samples frozen, since they are likely to change with time and degrade due to bacterial activity inside the sample containers and the loss of the most volatile compounds. However, we still ignore the exact pattern of change or degradation for these types of samples. Here we experimentally tested the stability of primate scent samples during analytical procedures. For this purpose, we used swabs of naturally deposited glandular secretions from captive tamarins (Neotropical primates) analyzed by headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We successively extracted the samples by solid-phase microextraction, while controlling for the delay between extractions, and compared the number of compounds detected in the samples under each condition. We found that compounds were lost and transformed over time inside the sample vials. Such natural decay of scent signals is likely to contribute to the long term information transmitted. We found no evidence that long delays at room temperature affected sample chemical composition more than short delays. Nonetheless, we showed that repeated extraction of a sample increased the loss of compounds. The changes in sample chemical composition observed over time in this experiment support standard recommendation to avoid storing samples for long periods at room temperature and to extract each sample only once, in order to ensure optimum results.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Chemosignaling, GC–MS, Sample degradation, Solid-phase microextraction, Volatile organic compounds
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2021 12:18
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:51
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706432

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