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0 Q&A 6385 Views Apr 5, 2018
Odor is the most fundamental chemical stimulus that delivers information regarding food, mating partners, enemies, and danger in the surrounding environment. Research on odor response in animals is widespread, although studies on experimental systems in which the gradient of odor concentration is quantitatively measured has been quite limited. Here, we describe a method for measuring a gradient of odor concentration established by volatilization and diffusion in a relatively small enclosed space, which has been used widely in laboratories to analyze small model animals such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We first vaporized known amounts of a liquid odorant 2-nonanone in a tank and subjected them to gas chromatographic analysis to obtain a calibration curve. Then, we aspirated a small amount of gas phase from a small hole on an agar plate and measured the odor concentration. By repeating this at different spatial and temporal points, we were able to detect a gradient of the odor concentration that increased over time. Furthermore, by applying these measured values to mathematical models of volatilization and diffusion, we were able to visualize an estimated dynamic change in odor concentration over an agar plate. Combining monitoring of odor concentration change in an agar plate with behavioral monitoring by machine vision will allow us to estimate how the brain computes information regarding odor concentration change in order to regulate behavior.

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