, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 135-147
Date: 19 Dec 2009

Investigation of odors in the fragrance industry

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Scents form the basis for the fragrance industry and various research activities have been developed in different scientific disciplines all being linked by a common interest in odors and odor perception. In this paper, four different topics have been selected for a short discussion. Following a short overview on the history of perfumery, the first topic (Natural scents) is providing some insight into the investigation of natural scents and how this work has strongly stimulated fragrance creation as well as the quest to find new odoriferous substances for the perfumer’s palette. The second subject (Fragrance chemistry) gives a historical overview over the chemistry of fragrances and briefly describes the rational behind the synthesis and composition of new scents. Body odors and their biochemical formation concern the third topic (Body odor biochemistry) which describes our current understanding of this scientifically interesting field and how knowledge may find use to improve future deodorant products. The fourth subject (Olfactory mechanisms) deals with the biochemistry in the human nose when odorants are activating olfactory receptors and enzymes appear to rapidly metabolize the inhaled odorous stimuli. This review does not attempt to be comprehensive, but it describes selected successes in the fragrance industry and the motivation behind conducting various types of research. Ultimately, the activities are aiming to bring new ingredients onto the market and improve the quality of scented products but also to advance our understanding of the power of communication through fragrance.