GUM EXUDATES OF ACACIA SENEGAL LINN IS AN ALTERNATIVE BINDING AGENT IN DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER CULTURE FOR LABORATORY MAINTENANCE OF STOCKS
The gum exudates of Acacia senegal Linn was utilized as a single agent or in combination with agar-agar in the formulation of Drosophila diet. Eight (8) corn-meal diets were formulated in two sets consisting of 15 – 40 % (w/w) A. senegal as a single binding agent or a mixture of A. senegal in the ratios of 1:5, 1:2, 1:1 and 2:1 to agar-agar per 100 g corn-meal diet. Biochemical markers of toxicity were analyzed spectrophotometrically. Standard methods of AOAC were employed to determine the physicochemical and proximate compositions of the formulated corn-meal diets. The results from this study showed high level of safety of the gum on adult Drosophila melanogaster (Harwich strain) of both sexes and of the same lineage. LC50 > 100 mg/g with insignificant mortality in all groups at varying concentration (1 – 100 mg/g) of the gum exudate was observed after 7 days of treatment. Significant increases in eclosion in the A. senegal – exposed flies at concentrations of 2, 4 and 5 mg/g diet was also observed after the treatment. A normal trend in locomotor activity was observed in all groups when flies were subjected to negative geotaxic assay, however, at concentrations of 50 mg/g there was an impairment in locomotion. The formulated A. Senegal containing diets have shown varying differences in physicochemical properties, even though no significant changes in the biochemical parameters including SOD1, Catalase and GST in all groups were seen. The collective findings of the present study revealed that the gum exudates of A. senegal L. may be a cost-effective alternative of agar-agar in corn-meal diet for laboratory maintenance of Drosophila melanogaster stocks.