Objective display and discrimination of floral odors from Amorphophallus titanum, bloomed on different dates and at different locations, using an electronic nose

Sensors (Basel). 2012;12(2):2152-61. doi: 10.3390/s120202152. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


As olfactory perceptions vary from person to person, it is difficult to describe smells objectively. In contrast, electronic noses also detect smells with their sensors, but in addition describe those using electronic signals. Here we showed a virtual connection method between a human nose perceptions and electronic nose responses with the smell of standard gases. In this method, Amorphophallus titanum flowers, which emit a strong carrion smell, could objectively be described using an electronic nose, in a way resembling the skill of sommeliers. We could describe the flower smell to be close to that of a mixture of methyl mercaptan and propionic acid, by calculation of the dilution index from electronic resistances. In other words, the smell resembled that of "decayed cabbage, garlic and pungent sour" with possible descriptors. Additionally, we compared the smells of flowers which bloomed on different dates and at different locations and showed the similarity of odor intensities visually, in standard gas categories. We anticipate our assay to be a starting point for a perceptive connection between our noses and electronic noses.

Keywords: Amorphophallus titanum; FF-2A; electronic nose; objective display; semiconductor; smell; smell description; titan arum.

MeSH terms

  • Amorphophallus / chemistry*
  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Computer Graphics*
  • Conductometry / instrumentation*
  • Electronics / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Gases / analysis*
  • Nose*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Transducers
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Gases