Development of a relationship between olfactory response and major odorants from organic wastes

Philip J. Hobbs, Tom H. Misselbrook, M. S. Dhanoa, K. C. Persaud

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25 Citations (SciVal)


Determination of an averaged human olfactory response as odour concentration to odours by instrumental means has been sought to simplify on-site measurement and reduce cost. Different concentrations of hydrogen sulphide, 4-methyl phenol, ammonia and acetic acid were used to simulate livestock waste odour. A second-order uniform precision rotatable central composite statistical design identified 31 odour mixtures to establish a human olfactory response model. An odour panel containing eight people was selected according to recognised criteria. They had an average age of 43.3 years. A multiple linear regression model accounted for 74.1% of the variance, with a decreasing order of influence of hydrogen sulphide > 4-methyl phenol>>acetic acid within the bounds of the model described. Surprisingly, 4-methyl phenol concentration produced a negative effect on the olfactory response. To enable better fitting of the complex olfactory response radial basis function, neural network modelling was used to account for 88% of the variance. With pig manure odours outside the studied concentration range the network model did not function. Predictions using the linear regression model were on average 20% less than observed values. These findings demonstrate that this approach is appropriate to determine the odour concentration from pig manure using the main odorants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2001


  • odour mixtures
  • modelling
  • olfactometry
  • odours
  • instrumentation


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