By exposing each receptor to a very small concentration 1, 10, or 100 micromoles of 73 odorants, such as vanillin or guaiacol, the group was able to identify 27 receptors that had a significant response to at least one odorant. This finding, published in the December issue of Nature Neuroscience, doubles the number of known odorant-activated receptors, bringing the number to 40.
Matsunami said this research could have a big impact for the flavors, fragrance, and food industries.
"These manufacturers all want to know a rational way to produce new chemicals of interest, whether it's a new perfume or new-flavored ingredient, and right now there's no scientific basis for doing that," he said. "To do that, we need to know which receptors are being activated by certain chemicals and the consequences of those activations in terms of how we feel and smell."
|Contact: Karl Leif Bates|