Sense of Smell Wins Nobel Prize (cont.)
Each olfactory receptor cell possesses only one type of odorant receptor, and each receptor can detect a limited number of odorant substances. Our olfactory receptor cells are therefore highly specialized for a few odors.
From these microdomains in the olfactory bulb, the information is relayed further to other parts of the brain, where the information from several olfactory receptors is combined, forming a pattern.
Lilacs and Strawberries
When something tastes really good it is primarily activation of the olfactory system which helps us detect the qualities we regard as positive. A good wine or a sunripe wild strawberry activates a whole array of odorant receptors, helping us to perceive the different odorant molecules.
Loss of Sense of Smell
To lose the sense of smell is a serious handicap -- we no longer perceive the different qualities of food and we cannot detect warning signals, for example smoke from a fire.
The following sections provide more information about the science of our system of smell and are based upon the press release today from the Nobel Assembly.
Deciphering a Sensory
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