DOI: 10.1101/461582Nov 4, 2018Paper

A novel olfactometer for efficient and flexible odorant delivery

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Shawn D BurtonMatt Wachowiak

Abstract

Understanding how sensory space maps to neural activity in the olfactory system requires efficiently and flexibly delivering numerous odorants within single experimental preparations. Such delivery is difficult with current olfactometer designs, which typically include limited numbers of stimulus channels and are subject to inter-trial and inter-channel contamination of odorants. Here, we present a novel olfactometer design that is easily constructed, modular, and capable of delivering an unlimited number of odorants with temporal precision and no detectable inter-trial or inter-channel contamination. The olfactometer further allows for flexible generation of odorant mixtures and flexible timing of odorant sequences. Odorant delivery from the olfactometer is turbulent but reliable from trial-to-trial, supporting operant conditioning of mice in an odorant discrimination task and permitting odorants and concentrations to be mapped to neural activity with a level of precision equivalent to that obtained with a flow dilution olfactometer. This novel design thus provides several unique advantages for interrogating olfactory perception and for mapping sensory space to neural activity in the olfactory system.

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