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Investigating Diet and Metabolism in Bean Beetles

Bean bettle eating a bean
Bean Beetle

If you are looking for an excellent college-level animal physiology investigation that is inquiry based and incorporates data collection, you should take a look at the “Diet and Metabolism in Bean Beetles” experiment at the Bean Beetles website. This activity was developed by Greg Butcher and Scott Chirhart from Centenary College of Louisiana. The Bean Beetles website is dedicated to using the bean beetle (Callosobruchus maculatus) as a model organism for inquiry-based exercises for college courses. The website contains a set of laboratory investigations that include student handouts, teacher notes, and example data. Culturing methods and a variety of other useful resources are also available on the website.

This is an excellent experiment that investigates cellular respiration and metabolism. As shown in the data below, a CO2 Gas Sensor is used to measure CO2 gas production from sets of bean beetles that are provided with different sources of food. An O2 Gas Sensor can also be used to measure oxygen consumption in this exercise. The original activity can be found at

graph showing CO2 gas production from bean beetles fed various sugars
Measuring CO2 gas production from bean beetles fed various sugars

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