50 Fascinating Facts about Smells and Odors

1Violets

The violet flowers can be smelled for only a few moments at a time because they get their scent from ionone which shuts the smell receptors off after simulating them. After a few breaths, the scent pops up again but the brain registers it as a new stimulus. Therefore every time you smell a violet, technically you are smelling it for the first time.


2. Most Koreans don't produce body odor due to the large-scale dominance of the gene ABCC11. As a consequence, deodorant is a rare commodity in South Korea.


3. Wounded Viking warriors were given strong onion soup. After a few minutes, someone would smell the wounds. If the smell of onions was detected, it meant that the soldier had sustained serious abdominal injuries and that death was inevitable.


4. A woman named Joy Milne from Perth, Scotland can smell Parkinson's disease. In a study, she was able to accurately identify 11 out of 12 patients with Parkinson's disease. Less than a year later, the last patient was also diagnosed with Parkinson's, making prediction correct in 12 out of 12 patients.


5. Rats are being trained in post-conflict countries like Cambodia, Mozambique, and Angola to detect landmines. Rats are too light to set off the mines and have the ability to smell the explosive compounds extremely well. Rats are faster than electronic minesweepers and can clear an area 3 times faster, with higher accuracy.


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6Grass

The smell of freshly cut grass is actually from the leaf alcohol, which the grass releases as a distress call to attract the predators of caterpillars, who eat grass.


7. Baking soda and dish soap (hydrogen peroxide) can be used to remove the smell of skunk spray. The oxygen molecules from the hydrogen peroxide bond with the thiols compound present in the skunk spray, which neutralizes the odor.


8. In 2011, Mazda had to recall 52,000 Mazda 6 cars because Yellow Sac Spiders love the smell of gasoline and Mazda 6’s gas tank design made it easy for them to build their webs in the car’s emission systems.


9. MI5 once had a plan to use Gerbils to detect terrorists/spies at airports, as their sense of smell can acutely detect increased adrenalin in people. The project was scrapped when the Gerbils proved unable to tell the difference between terrorists and those afraid of flying.


10. The first deodorant for men was launched in 1935 (decades after the introduction of deodorants for women) because, at the beginning of the 20th century, body odor was not considered a problem for men. It was a part of being masculine.


11Ambergris

Chunks of whale puke sell for as much as $150,000. After aging, the chunks become known as ambergris, developing a sweet musky smell. This material is highly sought after by high-end perfume manufacturers.


12. Consuming even 15 milligrams of the chemical element Tellurium can cause your sweat and breath to smell like garlic for up to 8 months.


13. The "Old People Smell" is caused by a molecule called 2-Nonenal, the production of which increases in your body as you age.


14. Wolverines are being trained to find and rescue avalanche survivors because they are naturally inclined to sniff out animals 20 feet below the snow and eat them.


15. The scent given off by each person's unique immune system is the second-most important criteria (after disposition) women use to assess potential partners. Women are more likely to find people attractive who have with immune systems unlike their own.


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16Elephant's ability

An elephant's ability to smell water is so refined that they can sometimes detect water sources up to 12 miles (19.2 km) away.


17. Dying stars cause space to smell like "hot metal, diesel fumes, and barbecue." Astronauts have also compared the smell of the moon to "spent gunpowder."


18. Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the odor of farts smell good so that farting in public will become socially acceptable. He wanted flatulence to be "as agreeable as perfumes."


19. A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth from up to 7 miles away.


20. You shouldn't use Calvin Klein's "Obsession" scent when you are on a Safari. Cheetahs, Tigers, Jaguars and other wild cats are attracted by it. Scientists use it to count the population of these animals better.


21Coffee smell

The smell of coffee reduces the stress caused by sleep deprivation and damage caused by stress.


22. In 2012, Dunkin Donuts in South Korea started spraying coffee aroma (Flavor Radio) into public buses every time their jingle played. After this marketing campaign, Dunkin' Donuts reported a 16% increase in visitors to stores near bus stops and a 29% increase in their coffee sales


23. The coffee company 'Nescafe' added a formulated coffee aroma to the top of their instant coffee jars before sealing them, so that you can get that 'fresh coffee' smell when you open the jar for the first time.


24. Consuming asparagus affects the smell of human urine. Only 22% of the human population have the gene to smell it.


25. The loss of sense of smell predicts death more accurately than a diagnosis of cancer, heart failure or lung disease, the only other common cause of predicting it more accurately being severe liver damage. Losing one's sense of smell strongly predicts death within five years.

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