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Smell-O-Vision: The Science Behind Good, Bad and Just Plain Nasty Scents

SMELL-0-VISION! The Science Behind Good, Bad, and Just Plain Nasty Scents One of our strongest senses is our sense of smell. It's tied to our memories, our attitudes toward people and things, our mood, and even our sense of taste. We can detect at least 1 trillion different scents, we can literally smell fear, and doctors can even predict illnesses or death by a person's fading or heightened sense of smell. Want to learn more? We know you do! Smell Theory Smell is such an essential sense to living organisms that even those with just a single cell can do it! At its core, smelling is scientifically defined as a way for a living being to measure and analyze the chemical make-up of the air around it. Smell works like this: 1 Special olfactory neurons, embedded in a patch of tissue way up inside the nose, pick up the molecules and particles given off by smelly stuff. Each neuron has a single "odor receptor," which is thought to act like a lock to a smelly particle's key. Food, rotten stuff, flowers, mold Some particles stimulate one odor receptor, while others can stimulate multiple receptors at the same time. It's also - everything you associate with good and bad smells - emit tiny particles. These could be molecules of sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, etc, or a combination of basic elements like hydrogen sulfide or dimethylsulfoniopropionate (what a nose-fulL). theorized that particles vibrate in unique ways once they connect with an odor receptor. ( 本人 4 6. Either way, the odor receptors are connected to the neurons, which are wired straight to the brain. A receptor collects data - vibration, shape, size, etc - We're able to recognize which smells are harmful and which are pleasant for us, and the brain associates that information with the scent, too. This is why you're repulsed by bad smells - sometimes they indicate that some harmful chemicals are The brain takes this scent and about an odor molecule and catalogs it in the huge filing cabinet that is your memory - so every time it picks up that data, all it has to do is pull a file and say to itself, "Ah! This is that thing I smelled before!" fires it through the neuron and into your brain, where the information is registered stimulating your odor receptors. as.a scent! 7:< There are two ways for smelly particles to reach your odor receptors straight through your nose, or through the channel that connects the top of your throat to your nose. This is why wine snobs and foodies say that smell is an essential part of taste - the senses are just data that your brain gathers to form conclusions and send signals to the rest of your body. Since all it takes to smell is particles reaching your odor receptors, you can smell things inside your mouth even if they aren't exposed to the outside air! This "smelling" occurs in such close proximity to your taste buds, though, that the senses become blended. But just try to taste something when your nose is stuffed up, and you'll instantly understand how closely entwined the two senses are. So can you see how smell might work for organisms without noses? As long as they have odor receptors somewhere, they can send signals to their brains about the particles in the air, too. Flies and other insects often use their antennae, while single-celled organisms might use the little cilia hairs that cover their bodies. The Stories behind Different Scents The specific smell of your flatulence is totally unique to you! It's determined by a lot of things, like your diet and how your body breaks down food. You're repulsed by other people's farts because the chemicals in them are harmful to you. The fecal matter in farts can even spread disease! But you're probably ok with your own stench, or the stench of a loved one - the brain naturally becomes more accustomed to and less alarmed by familiar scents, even bad ones. Love and time truly overcome all things! 59% 21% 9% 7% 4% 1% Fart Nitrogen Hidrogen Carbon Dioxide Methane Oxygen Hydrogen Sulfide Gas and Mercaptans Bad Breath: Bacteria that builds up in your mouth produces a volatile mixture of sulfur compounds which the brain registers as dangerous and disease-ridden. New Baby: Dry Mouth: Ever gone out for a night on the town, tossed back a few brewskis, ate some salty food, and fell asleep without brushing your teeth? It'd make sense if you woke up the next morning with a dry mouth and the worst breath of your life. Saliva helps to flush harmful molecules and chemicals from your mouth, so when you dry your mouth out with alcohol or salty foods, that harmful stuff sticks around for longer and tends to fester. Maybe you've heard parents say that they just "love that new baby smell," but babies probably smell gross to you. Ever thought that was a little weird? Well, maybe it seemed that way to you - but it's totally natural. After a baby is born, the brain associates the specific smell of that newborn with feelings of tenderness and comfort in the parents. Your own children will smell pleasant and familiar - even while other babies smell vaguely like vomit and mashed peas. Onions and Garlic: Once again, sulfide compounds are responsible for the infamously strong smell of these two vegetables. But you might be thinking - even if they smell bad, they taste good! Earlier, we explained that bad-smelling things usually smell bad because they could be harmful to you. But there are multiple ways to smell things - either through the nose or through the roof of the mouth. The latter form of smell contributes the most to your sense of taste, and it tends to be a little more dull than the former - so something that smells bad through the nose might smell (and taste) great in your mouth. Taste and smell, as chemical senses, are a truly dynamic duo! Roses: The primary scent compound of the rose is named after it! (-)-cis-rose oxide, as it's known, is quite a strong scent and is detectable to our noses even at concentrations as low as five Violets: The most fascinating flower for olfactory experiences is none other than the humble violet. The scent parts per billion. of this flower is made up of ionones, which have a unique feature. Most of us grow Seaweed: accustomed to the scents that are Decomposing seaweed on the beach produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which might remind you of rotting eggs or meat. In some places, this gas gathers in such concentrations that it can kill passing animals or birds flying overhead - so there's a good reason why your brain says “yuck" to this one! Still, in most places, seaweed produces very little of this gas - and in fact, our own bodies produce this gas, too, which might account for why humans are also strangely attracted to the toxic scent of the sea. You could say it's a truly intoxicating scent. Haha! Ha.heh. Anyway, moving on. ever-present in our lives: if you work in a restaurant, for example, you might not notice anymore how much you smell like a deep fryer after a hard day's work. Or if you're around people who wear lots of perfume or burn tons of scented candles, you might grow used to those scents, too. lonones, however, temporarily short circuit our olfactory receptors when they attach to them - meaning that whatever scent signals get sent to our brains isn't actually filed. Every time you smell a violet is like experiencing that scent for the first time - they're physiologically impossible to get used to! Our Special Perfume Section Eau de toilette, eau de cologne, eau de parfum - what's the difference, and why do they all smell so different? Well, you came to the right infographic buddy! Get ready to learn: COLOGNE EAU DE TOILETTE EAU DE PARFUM PERFUME The original cologne was made in, you guessed it, Cologne, Germany, by a chemist named Anything between 5% and 10% essential oils fits into Johann Farina (Farina - sounds like a good scent!). It was a blend of citrus and cedar, which sounds manly enough. All colognes are made of a concentration of 2% this category - it's stronger than cologne, but weaker than eau de parfum. This concentration makes it longer lasting than cologne, but allows it to avoid the overpowering aspects of its stronger cousins. This category of scent came into its own in the 80s, and it embodies every minute of that crazy, fierce, overbearing decade. Eau de parfum is 10% to 15% essential oils, and the scent can last You can get away with misting the other scents over your body, but perfume is the kind of stuff that you only dab behind your ears and on your collar bone. Essential oil concentrations in perfume (or parfum extrait for you pinky-out types) vary from 15% up to a nose-boggling 40%, with an average of 25%. Perfume lasts for to five hours. Since it lasts longer, the scent compounds in it have a different to 5% essential oils - the rest is basically alcohol and water. This is one of the weakest concentrations among smelly oils, making it cheaper, faster fading. and more emphatic of its strongest notes than other oils. pattern - when the top notes of a scent have faded, the "middle notes," come out in full force. Cologne and eau de toilette lack this subtlety. seven hours, giving it an even more diverse scent range than eau de parfum. This duration and variation of scent patterns also makes it the most expensive blend. What's in it? Well, lots of things..most of them toxic. Your nose-smelling sense will tell you that perfumes and colognes are delicious, but as soon as you get them in your mouth, your palette-smelling sense will tell you the truth: this stuff can kill. Benzaldehyde You can find this in perfumes, colognes, deodorants, Vaseline, shaving cream, and more. Believe it or not, it's considered a narcotic too. Camphor Pleasant name, annoying effects on the body. Get too much of this vapor near your eyes, and you'll find your whole head irritated and scratchy. Acetone Also found in dish soap, detergent, and nail polish remover. Linalool Funny name, serious stuff. Wear a perfume or cologne with linalool in it and you might find that a partner isn't the only thing you attract – bees love it too! That's because linalool is also found in lilies. Kind of scary, eh? That's why spending too much time in a perfume ection or a candle store Limonene They put this in disinfectants, nail polish, after shave, and paint remover. A nasty carcinogenic. can give you a headache - it smells good, but it isn't good for you! We like to use air fresheners and sprays to help clear the scent of a room - the way that they do that is by overwhelming the other scent compounds in the air so that even if your nose can detect them.your brain probably has trouble sorting them out. A more efficient way to cleanse the scent of the air, therefore, is to use an air purifier or filter which can suck the compounds out of the air and trap them. We're so used to the smell of good ol' 02 that once our breathing space is cleansed of everything else, we're left with a neutral "Ahhhh.." SOURCES: | | | | | | SAirOasis

Smell-O-Vision: The Science Behind Good, Bad and Just Plain Nasty Scents

shared by Michaelson on Jun 16
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Ever wonder why some things in the world smell delicious while others smell so despicable you can't stand it? This infographic will learn you on the basics of smell!



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