Rejection of eight aldehydes, eight ketones, five secondary alcohols, and 3-pentanol has been studied in the blowfly Phormia regina Meigen. The data agree with results previously reported for normal alcohols and several series of glycols in showing a logarithmic increase in stimulating effect with increasing chain length. The order of increasing effectiveness among the different species of compounds thus far investigated is the following: polyglycols, diols, secondary alcohols, iso-alcohols, normal alcohols, ketones, iso-aldehydes, normal aldehydes.
Curves relating the logarithms of threshold concentration to the logarithms of chain length for diols, alcohols, aldehydes, and ketones show inflections in the 3 to 6 carbon range. Above and below the region of inflection the curves are nearly rectilinear. The slopes for the upper limbs (smaller molecules) are of the order of –2; for the lower limbs, about –10.
Comparisons of the threshold data with numerical values for molecular weights, molecular areas and volumes, oil-water distribution coefficients, activity coefficients, standard free energies, vapor pressures, boiling points, melting points, dipole moments, dielectric constants, and degree of association are discussed briefly, and it is concluded that none of the comparisons serves to bring the data from the several series and from the two portions of each series into a single homogeneous system. A qualitative comparison with water solubilities shows fewer discrepancies.
It is suggested that the existence of a combination of aqueous and lipoid phases at the receptor surface would fit best with what is presently known about the relationship between chemical structure and stimulating effect in contact chemoreception. In this hypothesis the smaller and more highly water-soluble compounds are envisaged as gaining access to the receptors partly through the aqueous phase, the larger molecules predominantly through the lipoid phase.