Psychophysical Analysis of Complex Odor Mixtures


  • David G. Laing Centre For Advanced Food Research, University of Western Sydney, Bourke Street, Richmond NSW, Australia 2753
  • Anthony L. Jinks



Neural mechanisms, Odor mixtures, Odor suppression, Olfaction, Psychophysics


Odors in everyday life are usually complex and contain many components. This review describes current knowledge of how mixtures are perceived and the mechanisms that result in the suppression of many odors in mixtures. It discusses the limited capacity of humans to analyze mixtures and why only up to three odors can be identified perceptually in a mixture. Although this limit appears to be a disadvantage, the sense of smell seems to have evolved to provide a system that uses information processing techniques to detect and identify the most complex of odors within a second. Recent advances in gene technology which have resulted in the cloning of different types of receptors have provided new insights to odor reception and perception with mixtures and have the potential to open a new era in the development of fragrances.




How to Cite

D. G. Laing, A. L. Jinks, Chimia 2001, 55, 413, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2001.413.



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