Field olfactometry

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nasal ranger seville spain

    The main idea of the Field inspections is to estimate the degree of annoyance in a certain problematic area, by means of the olfactory capacities of a group of people or panel members, especially trained and "calibrated" to this effect. The main difference between field inspection and dynamic olfactometry is that in the first case, the panellist are moved to the problematic area to measure the odours on site.

   There is a usual trend for technicians to try to measure odours at ambient air levels. This way of measuring odours has a few advantages:

1) Measuring odours when they produce annoyance, that is, in the receptors. 2) It is less complicated to measure at the fence line or in the receptors that in the stack.
3) In addition it could be carried on as an inspection for compliance procedures.
4) It is a similar approach to that taken for chemical compounds, that can be detected in many cases at ambient air levels.
5) You get instant values instead of averages or percentiles.


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 Psychometry is a very efficient tool in many cases to deal with the problem of odours in a community. The psychometry is the evaluation of the odour complaints distribution by mean of questionnaires given to the people of neighbouring areas. The statistical analysis of the answers given by the neighbours is an starting point and it can help to design a campaign to measure odours by any other method.

The psychometry can give us answers such as:

  • The time-intervals when there is a maximum of complaints.
  • The location of the most problematic areas.
  • The possible source of the odours.
  • The odours with a less accepted hedonic tone by the community..

  The psychometric evaluation is a very effective tool, widely used in many countries (R. Cervinka et al., 2004, E. Gallmann et al., 2004). In Germany there is a norm that specially deals with the psychometric assessment, this is the VDI 3883.

  The Psychometric analysis is quite convenient as a screening study when the purpose is to measure odours by any other method such as field inspections, field olfactometry or dynamic olfactometry + dispersion model, however, this step is often forgotten in many odour studies.



In New Zealand there is a very interesting norm based on a Psychometric analysis. + info there


Instrumental Odour Monitoring (O-sensors)

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odorant sensors

   Recent developments in the technology of odours have carried out the emergence of new devices mainly for odour monitoring. These systems were previously known as electronic noses or "e-noses", however this term in incorrect because these devices do not have a sense of smell, which is a human thing. A more correct term would be odorant sensor or o-sensor. In some cases the term "o-sensor" would be maybe too restrictive as it would exclude some other instruments for odour monitoring such as Gas Chromatograps for example.

   The primary application of these instruments is to generate odour metrics that are relevant indicators for the presence and attributes of odour as would be perceived by human observers.

   A benefit of instrumental odour monitoring systems is that they can be used for continuous measurement.

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