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Microsensors in the Gut of Insects

The fine tipped microsensors from Unisense allowed Schauer et al (2012) to investigate and characterize the physicochemical conditions in the gut of the cockroach Shelfordella lateralis.

The research team completed axial microprofiles for oxygen, hydrogen, pH and redox potential directly into intact guts of Shelfordella lateralis. The dissected guts were fixed on a layer of agarose (O2, Redox and H2) or embedded in agarose directly after dissection (pH). The microsensors were mounted on an MM33 and the position of the sensor tip was monitored using a stereo microscope.

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Based on the microsensor data, Schauer et al (2012) concluded that the gut of Shelfordella lateralis had an anoxic and reducing environment at the center of all gut compartments and that pH slightly increased from proximal to distal compartments. Furthermore, the researchers revealed that in five out of eight individuals, hydrogen was found in low concentrations throughout the gut, whereas in three of the eight individuals hydrogen strongly accumulated in the midgut and hindgut.

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