Womenz Magazine

Scientists have Discovered an Alarming New side Effect of Air Pollution

Air Pollution effects on human
Image courtesy: heart org

Insects, including flies, rely heavily on pheromones, which are chemicals that enable males and females to locate and mate with each other. However, the pervasive increase of ozone in the air due to air pollution is disrupting and degrading these pheromones.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany conducted an experiment to mimic ozone levels similar to those found in cities during the summertime. The results revealed that elevated ozone levels led to a decrease in pheromones emitted by male flies. As a consequence, females became less attracted to males, resulting in male flies engaging in courtship behaviors with each other.

“We observed that after a brief exposure to ozone, male flies began courting other males because they were unable to distinguish ozonated males from females,” explained researchers Nanji Jiang and Markus Knaden. “This behavior of ozone-exposed males, forming long courtship chains, puzzled us as it was not something we had anticipated.”

The significance of this finding extends beyond flies, as ozone is believed to impact the behavior of various other insect species. Pheromone communication plays a crucial role in identifying members of the same species and their communities, such as bee hives, wasp nests, and ant colonies. The disruption of this communication can lead to confusion and disarray among ants, bees, and wasps.

Furthermore, insects like bees and butterflies play a vital role as pollinators. A decline in pheromone production can result in reduced reproduction and population, which could have detrimental effects considering that 80% of our crops rely on insect pollination.

To address this issue, immediate action is required to reduce pollutants in the atmosphere, as stated by Bill Hansson, head of the Evolutionary Neuroethology Department and co-founder of the Max Planck Center Next Generation Insect Chemical Ecology. This necessitates the cooperation of large brands and corporations that contribute significantly to pollution. However, individuals can also make a difference by reducing their car usage, conserving energy, and opting for sustainable shopping practices.

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