Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Everyone has a signature body odor – the chemical counterpart to fingerprints – and scientists are tracking down those odiferous arches, loops, and whorls in the “human odorprint” for purposes ranging from disease diagnosis to crime prevention. The current edition of Chemical & Engineering News notes that police long have used trained dogs to track criminals using scent prints (and dogs have successfully detected medical conditions and seizure pre-onset). Scientists now are developing technology to detect and classify smells. Each odorprint is influenced by such environmental factors as diet and cosmetics. Scientists have identified odors in human breath and skin associated with diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. Coming soon: tech that detects the “smell of deception” – chemical changes that occur with stress that could identify terrorists planning to detonate explosives.