Olfaction exhibits both high sensitivity for odours and high discrimination between them1. We suggest that to make fine discriminations between complex odorant mixtures containing varying ratios of odorants without the necessity for highly specialized peripheral receptors, the olfactory systems makes use of feature detection using broadly tuned receptor cells organized in a convergent neurone pathway. As a test of this hypothesis we have constructed an electronic nose using semiconductor transducers and incorporating design features suggested by our proposal. We report here that this device can reproducibly discriminate between a wide variety of odours, and its properties show that discrimination in an olfactory system could be achieved without the use of highly specific receptors.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Stoddart, D. M. (ed.) Symp. zool. Soc., Lond. 45, (1980).
Dodd, G. H. & Squirrell, D. J. Symp. Zool. Soc., Lond. 45, 35–56 (1980).
Dodd, G. H. & Persaud, K. in Biochemistry of Taste and Olfaction (eds Cagan, R. & Kare, M.) 333–357 (Academic, New York, 1981).
Holden, A. V. Lect. Notes Biomath. 32 (Springer, Heidelberg, 1976).
Sampson, J. R. Adaptive Information Processing (Springer, Berlin, 1976).
Uttal, W. R. The Psychobiology of Sensory Coding (Harper & Row, New York, 1973).
Deutsch, S. Models of the Nervous System (Wiley, New York, 1967).
Cherry, R. J., Dodd, G. H. & Chapman, D. Biochim. biophys. Acta 211, 409–416 (1970).
Wilkens, W. F., Hartman, J. D. & Rosano, H. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 116, 608–612 (1964).
Moncrieff, R. W. J. appl. Physiol. 16, 742–749 (1961).
Dravnieks, A. & Trotter, P. J. J. Scient. Instrum. 42, 624–627 (1965).
Sawateri, K. Chem. Abstr. 83, P 35757 T (1975).
Tanyolac, N. N. & Eaton, J. R. J. Am. pharmac. Ass. 39, 10–14 (1950).
Persaud, K., Pelosi, P. & Dodd, G. H. Olfaction & Taste 7, 101 (1980).
Ohno, Y. Chem. Abstr. 85, 28276Y (1976).
T.G.S. Gas-Sensing Semi-Conductor (Figaro Engineering Inc., Osaka, 1974).
Dodd, G. H. & Persaud, K. C. Provisional UK Patent No. 8035806 (1980).
Electronics Today International 62–65 (January 1979).
Roberts, G. G., Pande, K. P. & Barlow, W. A. Electron. Lett. 13, 581–583 (1977).
Persaud, K., Wood, P., Squirrell, D. J. & Dodd, G. H. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 9, 107–108 (1981).
Menevse, A., Dodd, G. H. & Poynder, T. M. Biochem. J. 176, 845–854 (1978).
Squirrell, D. J. thesis, Univ. Warwick, UK (1978).
About this article
Cite this article
Persaud, K., Dodd, G. Analysis of discrimination mechanisms in the mammalian olfactory system using a model nose. Nature 299, 352–355 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1038/299352a0
Scientific Reports (2021)
Journal of Food Science and Technology (2021)
Scientific Reports (2020)
An electronic nose using a single graphene FET and machine learning for water, methanol, and ethanol
Microsystems & Nanoengineering (2020)
International Journal of Automation and Computing (2020)