Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Thomas G. Mast, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Joseph M. Breza, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glenn K. Walker, Ph.D.


Mouse olfactory behavior has traditionally been difficult to assess due, in part, to the expensive nature of behavioral equipment and the lengthy process of training animals. The present study aims to validate a new behavioral paradigm requiring no prior animal training using existing liquid dilution behavioral olfactometers. We also aim to validate Triton-100x, a detergent, as a new anosmia inducing agent, as well as self-built, Do-it-yourself (DIY) behavioral olfactometers. Equipment and methods were tested using a variety of common-discrimination and detectionthreshold assays. Difficulties maintaining stimulus control arose during testing as mice routinely detected volume-to-volume concentrations of amyl acetate diluted in mineral oil below reported thresholds (1x10-8: n = 8, p < 0.05). Stimulus control was corrected by using individual vials for each odor presentation. These results demonstrate that non-motivated behavior using existing equipment is an effective alternative to traditional training methods when stimulus control is properly accounted for. Furthermore, intranasal irrigation with 0.1% Triton successfully induced recoverable anosmia in mice (Day 6: p > 0.05, n = 6; Day 7: p < 0.05, n = 6; PBS: p < 0.05, n = 6). Finally, a behavioral olfactometer was successfully constructed from Arduino microcontrollers for ~$750. At a fraction of the cost, our DIY behavioral olfactometer produced behavioral data comparable to commercial equipment in common olfactory assays. We hope this cost-effective, easy-to-use equipment will be used for both research and teaching purposes.

Included in

Biology Commons