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Loss of Odor Through Conjugation, Suppression and Cross-Adaptation: How One Plus One Can Sometimes Equal Zero

Published

Author(s)

Thomas J. Bruno

Abstract

Since the days of the alchemist, the observation that some substances have a smell while others do not has been a source of fascination. The sense of smell, or olfaction, is our least developed and least understood sense, however it is important for many human functions, including digestion, food selection and hazard avoidance. The detailed explanation of why individual chemicals (called odorants) might have a particular smell is still elusive. The situation with mixtures of odorants is even more complex and interesting. A number of distinct odorant mixture phenomena have been documented. Odorant suppression (sometimes called masking), conjugation and cross-adaptation are among a collection of such phenomena. They are related to the differential effects that one odorant species will have when mixed with another. Masking is a term that describes situations in which one odorant can overpower the sensation of another. Conjugation describes the situation in which two odoriferous compounds, when sniffed together, produce the sensation of very little odor, or no odor at all. Cross adaptation is the desentization effect produced by one odoriferous compound on another. In this review, the basics of olfaction will be discussed briefly, followed by a description of masking, conjugation and cross adaptation. -- FOR POLICY REVIEW ONLY --
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the American Gas Association Operations Conference
Conference Dates
May 19-22, 2009
Conference Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Conference Title
Loss of Odor Through Conjugation, Suppression and Cross-Adaptation: How One Plus One Can Sometimes Equal Zero

Keywords

Cross-adaptation, masking, odorant conjugation, Zwaardemaker pair

Citation

Bruno, T. (2009), Loss of Odor Through Conjugation, Suppression and Cross-Adaptation: How One Plus One Can Sometimes Equal Zero, Proceedings of the American Gas Association Operations Conference, Pittsburgh, PA (Accessed June 10, 2023)
Created May 19, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017