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Asked Jan 5, 2020
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 What kinds of molecules often trigger our sense of smell? 

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Expert Answer

Step 1

When we sense a smell, we actually sense the presence of small vaporized molecules. So, when we smell an object, we actually sense the molecules that evaporated from the surface of that object. These molecules travel through the air into our nose and bind with the specific olfactory receptor generating a signal in our brain. It triggers us to recognize the specific smell.

Step 2

Vaporized odor molecules such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and sulfur compound are the molecules that often trigger our sense of smell. Ammonia and ammonia related compounds have the characteristic of pungent smell. Ammonia can come from fertilizers, old refrigerators, and ...

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