Category Archives: Biology of Smell

Unpleasant aromas can comfort us as much as pleasant ones

It is a well known fact that our sense of smell is processed in a deep-seated part of our brains, the limbic system, a place that also processes our memories and emotion.

Given the close connection of odours and memories it is therefore unsurprising that a whole range of smells from the good to the bad to the ugly (who is to judge anyway) can elicit a broad spectrum of emotions.

Smells are known to jog memories and nostalgia and it is these deep associated sensory memories that jog our emotional state.

According to psychologist Dr Elena Touroni:

‘The smell itself doesn’t have to be particularly pleasant in order to provoke a positive memory. It’s very common and we purposefully use it as a psychological strategy in therapy – especially for those who have experienced trauma or have emotional difficulties, for example,’ she adds. It’s more about the association, rather than enjoyment of the thing itself.’

What odd smells bring comfort to you?

The metro reports with some readers quoting some odd nostalgic driven aromas here 

 

Got the Spring Time Bug?

Geosmin

The start of spring holds a characteristic outdoors odor. It’s a bit of dirt, mixed in with sharp greenness and an unmistakable whiff of ozone. Its called Geosmin and our noses are so finely tuned to this organic compound, in fact, that according to Popular Mechanics we can detect it better than sharks can recognize blood.

Buuuuuut as it finally turns out, the source of this smell, its er not so romantic.

For the very first time, excited scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the John Innes Centre, and Lund University have identified why this distinct scent has persisted: a mutually-beneficial relationship between a six-legged worm, known as the springtail, and Streptomyces, a type of bacteria commonly found in soil.

Springtails are attracted to the smell of geosmin associated with the bacteria which basically then hitches a ride on Springtails that spread their tiny spores.

-Ed

Detailed source here – https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a32065673/spring-smell-geosmin-soil-springtails/

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