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Genes Nutr. 2019 Feb 1;14:3. doi: 10.1186/s12263-019-0627-9. eCollection 2019.

Drosophila melanogaster in nutrition research-the importance of standardizing experimental diets.

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1Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science, University of Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany.
2Department of Molecular Physiology, Institute of Zoology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany.
3Airway Research Center North, German Center for Lung Research (DZL), Kiel, Germany.


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been increasingly recognized as an important model organism in nutrition research. In order to conduct nutritional studies in fruit flies, special attention should be given to the composition of the experimental diets. Besides complex diets, which are often based on maize, yeast, sucrose, and agar, Drosophila can be also fed chemically defined diets. These so-called holidic diets are standardized in terms of their macro- and micronutrient composition although the quantitative nutrient requirements of flies have yet not been fully established and warrant further investigations. For instance, only few studies address the fatty acid, vitamin, mineral, and trace element requirements of fruit flies. D. melanogaster may be also of interest in the field of nutritional medicine. Diet-induced diabetes and obesity models have been established, and in this context, often, the so-called high-fat and high-sugar diets are fed. However, the composition of these diets is not sufficiently defined and varies between studies. A consensus within the scientific community needs to be reached to standardize the exact composition of experimental complex and holidic diets for D. melanogaster in nutrition research. Since D. melanogaster is an established valuable model system for numerous human diseases, standardized diets are also a prerequisite to conduct diet-disease interaction studies. We suggest that a comprehensive approach, which combines deep phenotyping with disease-related Drosophila models under defined dietary conditions, might lead to the foundation of a so-called fly clinic.


Diet; Disease; Drosophila melanogaster; Model organism; Phenotype

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Not applicable.Not applicable.The authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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