Advertisement

Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 49–56 | Cite as

Specific anosmia to trimethylamine: The fishy primary odor

  • John E. Amoore
  • L. Janet Forrester
Article

Abstract

About 7% of human subjects are specifically anosmic to the odor of trimethylamine. Odor threshold measurements on 16 aliphatic amines were made with panels of specific anosmics and normal observers. The anosmia is most pronounced with low-molecular-weight tertiary amines, but is also observed in lesser degree with primary and secondary amines. It is suggested that this specific anosmia corresponds with the absence of a new olfactory primary, the “fishy” odor. Trimethylamine has been reported to occur in human menstrual blood and in the anal gland of the red fox, implying some pheromonal function.

Key words

amines anosmia fishy odor odor thresholds primary odor specific anosmia tertiary amines trimethylamine 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Albone, E.S., andFox, M.W. 1971. Anal gland secretion of the red fox.Nature (London) 233:569–570.Google Scholar
  2. Amoore, J.E. 1967. Specific anosmia: A clue to the olfactory code.Nature (London) 214: 1095–1098.Google Scholar
  3. Amoore, J.E. 1969. A plan to identify most of the primary odors. Pages 158–171in C. Pfaffmann, ed. Olfaction and taste III. Rockefeller University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Amoore, J.E. 1970. Molecular basis of odor. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois.Google Scholar
  5. Amoore, J.E. 1974. Evidence for the chemical olfactory code in man.Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 237:137–143.Google Scholar
  6. Amoore, J.E. 1975. Four primary odor modalities of man: Experimental evidence and possible significance. Pages 283–289in D. A. Denton, and J.P. Coghlan, eds. Olfaction and taste V. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Amoore, J.E., Venstrom, D., andDavis, A.R. 1968. Measurement of specific anosmia.Percept. Mot. Skills 26:143–164.Google Scholar
  8. Amoore, J.E., Forrester, L.J., andButtery, R.G. 1975a. Specific anosmia to 1-pyrroline: The spermous primary odor.J. Chem. Ecol. 1:299–310.Google Scholar
  9. Amoore, J.E., Popplewell, J.R., andWhissell-Buechy, D. 1975b. Sensitivity of women to musk odor: No menstrual variation.J. Chem. Ecol. 1:291–297.Google Scholar
  10. Beilstein, F.K. 1922. Handbuch der Organischen Chemie (4th edit.) vol. 4, p. 45. Julius Springer, Berlin.Google Scholar
  11. Cromwell, B.T., andRichardson, M. 1966. Studies on the biogenesis of some simple amines and quaternary ammonium compounds in higher plants: Trimethylamine inChenopodium vulvaria L.Phytochemistry 5:735–746.Google Scholar
  12. Guillot, M. 1948. Anosmies partielles et odeurs fondamentales.C.R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. 226:1307–1309.Google Scholar
  13. Jones, N.R. 1967. Fish flavors. Pages 267–295in H.W. Schultz, E.A. Day, and L.M. Libbey, eds. Symposium on foods: the chemistry and physiology of flavors. Avi Publishing Co., Westport, Connecticut.Google Scholar
  14. Klaus, K. 1927. Beitrag zur Biochemie der Menstruation.Biochem. Z. 185:3–10.Google Scholar
  15. Linnaeus, C. 1756. Odores medicamentorum. Amoenitates Academicae vol. 3, p. 200.Google Scholar
  16. Michael, R.P., Bonsall, R.W., andWarner, P. 1974. Human vaginal secretions: Volatile fatty acid content.Science 186:1217–1219.Google Scholar
  17. Okoloff, F. 1932. Bestimmung von Ammoniak, Trimethylamin und anderen Aminen in Nahrungsmitteln.Z. Untersuch. Lebensm. 63:129–154.Google Scholar
  18. Stephens, E.R. 1971. Identification of odors from cattle feed lots.Calif. Agr. 25(1):10–11.Google Scholar
  19. Whissell-Buechy, D., andAmoore, J.E. 1973. Odour-blindness to musk: Simple recessive inheritance.Nature (London) 242:271–273.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Amoore
    • 1
  • L. Janet Forrester
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureWestern Regional Research Laboratory Agricultural Research ServiceBerkeley

Personalised recommendations