In a nutshell, the following steps should serve as a guide for planning experiments designed for ex-situ volatile collections and analysis:
- Electrophysiology is much of practical science, it takes practice to consistently set up organs and switching between organisms takes some trial and error. Take the time initially to get a good feel for consistently setting up an organ to detect known chemicals before evaluating novel detections.
- Design and carry out appropriate bioassays to demonstrate the involvement of honey bee emitted volatiles in bee behaviour (see the BEEBOOK paper on methods for behavioural research by Scheiner et al. (2013)).
- Use appropriate analytical techniques to detect (coupled GC-EAD), identify (GC, linked GC-MS) and quantify (GC, linked GC-MS) biologically relevant chemicals present in the emitted odours (see section 3.3. and 3.4. of this paper).
- Confirm biological activities of identified chemicals
by using their authentic (pure synthetic versions) equivalents in bioassays.