What are Smells?

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What are Smells?

In: Chemistry
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When you smell something, it’s because there’s a bit of that stuff in the air and it gets to your nose……. Yes, you get pee in your nose when you smell some

Most smells are volatile (easily gets into the air) organic (complex carbon molecules) compounds (a mix of stuff), or VOCs for short. You can also smell stuff like ozone and some minerals like chalk. But mostly they’re organic.

We’re attuned to smell as an indicator of tasty food or rot, of plants or alcohol or fermentation. Bacteria and yeast make alcohols and complex organic molecules. So do flowers and fruit.

We use smell to tell us about plant life and bacteria, but also other people! People give off organic chemicals when they’re scared or stressed or aroused or feeling sexy. Bacteria living on the skin also make smells, so people with healthy habits and good bacterial balance will smell nicer than people who don’t. Food we eat and metabolize is also given off through the skin, so we can tell if someone has been overdoing it on garlic or beer.

In short, smell is a good shortcut to understanding bacteria and yeast and plants and animals and people via the organic chemistry, a byproduct of life big and small, that makes it into the air.