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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e34301. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034301. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Olfactory sensitivity and odor structure-activity relationships for aliphatic carboxylic acids in CD-1 mice.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.

Abstract

Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of CD-1 mice for a homologous series of aliphatic n-carboxylic acids (ethanoic acid to n-octanoic acid) and several of their isomeric forms was investigated. With all 14 odorants, the animals significantly discriminated concentrations as low as 0.03 ppm (parts per million) from the solvent, and with four odorants the best-scoring animals even detected concentrations as low as 3 ppt (parts per trillion). Analysis of odor structure-activity relationships showed that the correlation between olfactory detection thresholds of the mice for the unbranched carboxylic acids and carbon chain length can best be described as a U-shaped function with the lowest threshold values at n-butanoic acid. A significant positive correlation between olfactory detection thresholds and carbon chain length of the carboxylic acids with their branching next to the functional carboxyl group was found. In contrast, no such correlation was found for carboxylic acids with their branching at the distal end of the carbon chain relative to the functional carboxyl group. Finally, a significant correlation was found between olfactory detection thresholds and the position of the branching of the carboxylic acids. Across-species comparisons suggest that mice are more sensitive for short-chained (C(2) to C(4)) aliphatic n-carboxylic acids than other mammalian species, but not for longer-chained ones (C(5) to C(8)). Further comparisons suggest that odor structure-activity relationships are both substance class- and species-specific.

PMID:
22479594
PMCID:
PMC3316622
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0034301
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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