Olfactory studies frequently utilize odor stimuli consisting of volatiles created from liquid dilutions of various chemicals. A problem arises if the researcher relies on these liquid dilutions to extrapolate vapor concentrations based on ideal gas behavior. For most chemicals, the relationship between liquid and vapor concentration deviates from these laws of proportionality due to interactions between the chemical and the solvent. Here, we describe a method to estimate vapor-phase concentrations of diluted odorants using a photoionization detector. To demonstrate the utility of this method, we assessed the relationship between liquid-/vapor-phase concentrations for 14 odorants (7 alcohols, 1 ester, and 6 aldehydes) in 5 different solvents (water, mineral oil, diethyl phthalate, dipropylene glycol, and propylene glycol). An analysis of 7 additional esters is also included to assess how carbon chain length and functional group, interacts with these solvents (for a total of 105 odorant/solvent pairs). Our resulting equilibrium equations successfully corrected for behavioral sensitivity differences observed in mice tested with the same odorant in different solvents and were overall similar to published measurements using a gas chromatography-based approach. In summary, this method should allow researchers to determine the vapor-phase concentration of diluted odorants and will hopefully assist in more accurate comparisons of odorant concentrations across olfactory studies.

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