Olfactory epithelium biosensor: Odor discrimination of receptor neurons from a bio-hybrid sensing system

Qingjun Liu, Ning Hu, Fenni Zhang, Diming Zhang, K. Jimmy Hsia, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bio-hybrid systems provide an opportunity for integrating a living bio-active unit and a proper biosensing system, to employ the unique properties of the bio-active unit. The biological olfactory system can sense and identify thousands of trace odors. The purpose of this study is to combine olfactory epithelium with microelectrode array (MEA) to establish an olfactory epithelium-MEA hybrid system to record the odor-induced electrophysiological activities of the tissue. In our experiments, extracellular potential of olfactory receptor neurons in intact epithelium were measured in the presence of ethyl ether, acetic acid, butanedione, and acetone, respectively. After the odor-induced response signals were analyzed in the time and frequency domain, the temporal characteristics of response signals were extracted. We found that olfactory epithelium-MEA hybrid system can reflect the in vitro odor information of different signal characteristics and firing modes in vitro. The bio-hybrid sensing system can represent a useful instrument to sense and detect the odorant molecules with well recognizing patterns. With the development of sensor technology, bio-hybrid systems will represent emerging and promising platforms for wide applications, ranging from health care to environmental monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1061
Number of pages7
JournalBiomedical microdevices
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-hybrid sensor
  • Cell-based biosensor
  • Microelectrode array (MEA)
  • Olfactory epithelium
  • Receptor neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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