Setting Up Odorant Dilutions

You will need just a few mL of each odorant, along with 6 to 8 cups, jars, or beakers per odorant. Any strongly scented, water-soluble substance will do.

Example odarants
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Mint flavored mouthwash
  • Vinegar
  • Vanilla extract

Set up 1:2 serial dilutions

Volumes can be scaled up or down as desired.
  1. Begin with a 1:25 dilution.
    • Place 48 mL of water into your first container
    • Add 2 mL of odorant and mix thoroughly
    • Label this container 1:25
  2. Set up containers.
    • To 5 additional containers, add 25 mL of water
    • Label them 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:400, and 1:800
  3. Perform serial dilutions.
    • Take 25 mL from the 1:25 container and add it to the 1:50 container
    • Take 25 mL from the 1:50 container and add it to the 1:100 container
    • Repeat for the remaining containers
  1. Adjust as necessary.
  2. Some odorants are stronger than others. Aim to have 5-6 different dilutions of odorant. The most dilute solution should be undetectable; the most concentrated should be easily detectable.

    • If the 1:800 dilution still smells strongly, continue making 1:2 serial dilutions until you can no longer detect the odorant.
    • If the 1:25 dilution smells weak, make more concentrated solutions (e.g., 1:10, 1:5) until you have a good range.

APA format:

Genetic Science Learning Center. (2014, December 1) Setting Up Odorant Dilutions. Retrieved May 14, 2024, from

CSE format:

Setting Up Odorant Dilutions [Internet]. Salt Lake City (UT): Genetic Science Learning Center; 2014 [cited 2024 May 14] Available from

Chicago format:

Genetic Science Learning Center. "Setting Up Odorant Dilutions." Learn.Genetics. December 1, 2014. Accessed May 14, 2024.