A scalable method for automatically measuring pharyngeal pumping in C. elegans

Abstract

We describe a scalable automated method for measuring the pharyngeal pumping of Caenorhabditis elegans in controlled environments. Our approach enables unbiased measurements for prolonged periods, a high throughput, and measurements in controlled yet dynamically changing feeding environments. The automated analysis compares well with scoring pumping by visual inspection, a common practice in the field. In addition, we we observed overall low rates of pharyngeal pumping and long correlation times when food availability was oscillated.