Simple behavioral assessment of mouse olfaction

Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2009 Jul;Chapter 8:Unit 8.24. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0824s48.


This unit presents two basic protocols that offer rapid assessments of anosmia (the absence of a sense of smell) in mice. The buried food test is used to check for the ability to smell volatile odors. The olfactory habituation/dishabituation test is used to test whether the animal can detect and differentiate different odors, including both nonsocial and social odors. A non-contact method of odor presentation, along with a general method for collecting urine samples, is given as an alternate protocol. The tests described in this unit only require simple equipment and can be adopted readily by most laboratories.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Mice
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Pathways / metabolism
  • Reaction Time
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Urinalysis / methods