Sensors 2012, 12(4), 4091-4104; doi:10.3390/s120404091
Article

Fast Direct Injection Mass-Spectrometric Characterization of Stimuli for Insect Electrophysiology by Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS)

1 IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all’Adige, Italy 2 Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 102, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden 3 Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25, A-6020, Innsbruck, Austria
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2012; in revised form: 14 March 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 27 March 2012
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Abstract: Electrophysiological techniques are used in insect neuroscience to measure the response of olfactory neurons to volatile odour stimuli. Widely used systems to deliver an olfactory stimulus to a test insect include airstream guided flow through glass cartridges loaded with a given volatile compound on a sorbent support. Precise measurement of the quantity of compound reaching the sensory organ of the test organism is an urgent task in insect electrophysiology. In this study we evaluated the performances of the recent realised proton transfer reaction-time of flight mass-spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) as a fast and selective gas sensor. In particular, we characterised the gas emission from cartridges loaded with a set of volatile compounds belonging to different chemical classes and commonly used in electrophysiological experiments. PTR-ToF-MS allowed a fast monitoring of all investigated compounds with sufficient sensitivity and time resolution. The detection and the quantification of air contaminants and solvent or synthetic standards impurities allowed a precise quantification of the stimulus exiting the cartridge. The outcome of this study was twofold: on one hand we showed that PTR-ToF-MS allows monitoring fast processes with high sensitivity by real time detection of a broad number of compounds; on the other hand we provided a tool to solve an important issue in insect electrophysiology.
Keywords: electrophysiological techniques; olfactory stimulus; proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry; real time monitoring; volatile compounds

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tasin, M.; Cappellin, L.; Biasioli, F. Fast Direct Injection Mass-Spectrometric Characterization of Stimuli for Insect Electrophysiology by Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). Sensors 2012, 12, 4091-4104.

AMA Style

Tasin M, Cappellin L, Biasioli F. Fast Direct Injection Mass-Spectrometric Characterization of Stimuli for Insect Electrophysiology by Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). Sensors. 2012; 12(4):4091-4104.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tasin, Marco; Cappellin, Luca; Biasioli, Franco. 2012. "Fast Direct Injection Mass-Spectrometric Characterization of Stimuli for Insect Electrophysiology by Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS)." Sensors 12, no. 4: 4091-4104.

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