How we react to certain smells - Deepstash

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What’s in a smell?

How we react to certain smells

  • Smells can alert us about danger - we're repulsed by the smell of sewage and rotting food.
  • We don't all respond to odour molecules in the same way.
  • Butyric acid contributes to the smell of both Parmesan cheese and vomit, so it may smell offputting or appealing, depending on the situation.

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What’s in a smell?

What’s in a smell?

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/whats-in-a-smell/

sciencefocus.com

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Key Ideas

How smell works

  • Odour molecules that move through the air up your nostrils will bind to special smell receptors on the surface of nerve cells.
  • The nerve cells send a signal to the brain's olfactory bulb, that is behind the bridge of the nose.
  • People have about 400 different smell receptor types.
  • The odour molecules create a pattern of activation in the nerve cells that the brain translates as a smell.

When we lose our sense of smell

A complete loss of smell, known as anosmia, can occur after a cold, sinus infection or even a bump to the head.

Anosmia affects the flavour of food. However, it isn't always permanent and may recover naturally or through exercises like 'smell training' to re-stimulate the olfactory system.

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From milk to cheese

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The source of cheese’s flavour

Over the months of ripening, smelly parts can interact in new ways to produce more flavour-carrying molecules, such as a hint of nutty, spicy, woody, grassy, or burnt oats. More fat in the cheese generally makes it tastier.

Flavour compounds typically dissolve well in oils, fats, and alcohol, but poorly in water. Fat-rich foods will therefore cover your tongue with a flavour that lingers.

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