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One of the most compelling messages to the average person near dinnertime is the smell of a favorite dish cooking. This is an example of a behavioral stimulus caused by odors in the air. People respond positively or negatively to a wide variety of odors.  The cooking food makes us even hungrier and prepares our stomachs to digest it.   The smell of food actually contributes greatly to the sensation we know as taste--which is why things just don't taste as good when our noses are stuffed up with a head cold. Spoiled food, on the other hand, tends to smell bad and warns us that there will be unpleasant consequences if we try to eat it.

Insects use their chemosensory systems to perceive their environment in much the same way humans use their senses of taste (gustation) and smell (olfaction) and odor detection is critical to many insect behaviors. For example, a female mosquito uses odor to find a human victim to bite.  Sensory biotechnology draws on our knowledge about the molecular mechanisms controlling the chemosensory system for a variety of applications.  Inscent is dedicated to exploiting these behavioral processes through the use of sensory manipulation.  Using rational design principles first developed by the pharmaceutical industry, we are focused on discovering novel products aimed at revolutionizing the insect pest control market.

 Inscent is at the forefront of using sensory biotechnology to alter insect pest behavior in order to control infestations in the agricultural and public health fields. Examples of such applications are our work on a novel honeybee repellent for the citrus industry, a novel repellent for malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, and a novel mating disruption product for the codling moth, a significant stone-fruit pest. These products are based on the concept of manipulating the insect’s chemosensory processes and achieving insect pest control by altering the way in which insects perceive and react to environmental stimuli.  Thus, Inscent focuses on altering the gustatory and olfactory processes of targeted insect pest species utilizing a rational design product development strategy. The results will be highly efficient, species-specific control products that do not harm the environment, interfere with existing pest management strategies, and which are safe for the user.

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