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Studies on the sense of smell to ketone compounds in a Hungarian population


The authors examined the sense of smell of 187 students (105 boys and 82 girls), aged from 15 to 19 years, of a technical school. Tests for the ability to smell are reported only in very few papers in the literature; so it was necessary to elaborate an own test procedure. In order to collect olfactory thresholds, a sorting technique based on the use of a serial dilution of the substances, was used similarly to the method for testing taste sensitivity to P.T.C. It was observed as a new phenomenon that the human population showed a polymorphism concerning ketone compounds, i.e. acetone and methylethylketone (MEK); the distribution of thresholds gave a bimodal curve for acetone and a trimodal one for MEK. Correlation — though not very strong — between the thresholds for these compounds was found. Retesting 1–3 months later with acetone showed a fairly good fit. Finally the possibility of the role of genetic factors in the ability to smell ketone compounds is suggested.

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Forrai, G., Szabados, T., Papp, E.S. et al. Studies on the sense of smell to ketone compounds in a Hungarian population. Hum Genet 8, 348–353 (1970).

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  • Internal Medicine
  • Acetone
  • Ketone
  • Metabolic Disease
  • Genetic Factor