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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Environmental

Scent to Try Us

If you’ve ever found your face jammed in a fellow commuter’s armpit, you may have noticed that some fabrics seem to make people smellier than others.

So why do some fabrics leave you reaching for the deodorant? Human body odor consists of many known volatiles that can adhere to the textile against the skin; the fibers of different fabrics have been shown to adsorb and release these volatiles differently. So by more fully understanding these interactions, garment manufacturers could develop products to counteract unpleasant odors. At least that’s what researcher Raechel Laing of the Centre for Materials Science and Technology, University of Otago, has in mind.

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  1. TM Richter et al, “Textile binding and release of body odor compounds measured by proton transfer reaction – mass spectrometry”, Text Res J (2017).

About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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