Like most websites The Analytical Scientist uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalized, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it. Learn more.
Fields & Applications Petrochem, Environmental

What’s that Smell?

Friday, 20 September, 2013, saw panic on the streets of Mangalore as a gas-like smell caused people to seek open space and safety, checking their own LPG canisters en route, according to several Indian news outlets (1, 2).


Within hours of initial reports and amongst a flood of further panicked calls to police and fire control rooms, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials charged into the local area with a volatile organic compound meter to check levels, the mystery odor was described simply as a “smell” but quantified at 50 parts per million before dispersing.

Two days later, and the source of the “pungent smell” could still not be traced despite the KSPCB sending air samples for laboratory examination – the results allegedly did not show the presence of any chemical substance. A KSPCB spokesperson told The Times of India: “Samples were sent to Mangalore Refineries Petrochemicals Limited, but it was already diluted by the time it reached the lab" (3). Gas sample collection, it appears, is an art form, after all.

Does this smell like a cover up to you? Have you heard about other such analytical failures?  Let us know by commenting below.

Subscribe to The Analytical Scientist Newsletters

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].


About the Author

Rich Whitworth

Rich Whitworth completed his studies in medical biochemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, in 1998. To cut a long story short, he escaped to Tokyo to spend five years working for the largest English language publisher in Japan. "Carving out a career in the megalopolis that is Tokyo changed my outlook forever. When seeing life through such a kaleidoscopic lens, it's hard not to get truly caught up in the moment." On returning to the UK, after a few false starts with grey, corporate publishers, Rich was snapped up by Texere Publishing, where he spearheaded the editorial development of The Analytical Scientist. "I feel honored to be part of the close-knit team that forged The Analytical Scientist – we've created a very fresh and forward-thinking publication." Rich is now also Content Director of Texere Publishing, the company behind The Analytical Scientist.

Related Application Notes

Sensitive and selective analysis of wood sugars and uronic acids for biofuel research with electrochemical detection

| Contributed by Knauer

Multi-element Analysis of Used Lubricant Oils

| Contributed by Agilent Technologies

Fast and efficient group-type (PiPNA) classification of jet fuels

| Contributed by SepSolve Analytical

Related Product Profile

CALYPSO: Nitrogen Gas Generator for LCMS

| Contributed by FDGSi

Register to The Analytical Scientist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:

  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine