The Nose Knows Odors

Did you know that when a range of odors are tested, humans outperform lab rats and dogs in detecting some odors but are less sensitive to other odors? From a 2014 study, humans could actually smell an estimated 1 trillion scents, way more than we are usually given credit for. Our noses are more sensitive and have a greater range than previously thought.

Smell is a chemical sense that works because olfactory neurons in our nose are odor receptors for all kinds of odor molecules floating around in the air. Different microscopic odor molecules that are volatile (easily turn into a gas) stimulate these receptors. Temperature and humidity affect odors because they increase molecular volatility. Our brain receives this information and combines this signal to record a unique scent and our perception of smell is complete.

Our brain stores this scent in both our memory and emotional centers. This is why certain smells can be such strong memory triggers. Smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence our mood and affect our work performance. Even when an unwanted odor is gone, our brain may continue to tell us that the odor still exists.

For odor control, we encourage our clients to use a cool mist handheld or drum mounted fogger with BioWorld Odor Neutralizer (BON). Microscopic droplets containing BON are able to react with volatile odors and get rid of the smell.  Because of the ability of our brain to store smells (what smells bad to one person may not smell bad to another person), we recommend having several people (noses) verify that unwanted odors have truly been eliminated.