8 May 2016

Quiz 6 : 10 Questions on Smells and Aromas

Intro: An onion, apple and potato all have the same taste. The differences in flavour are caused by their smell.  Most sensations that appear introspectively as tastes are really smells

1. What connects the following odours - camphorlike, musky, floral, peppermintlike, ethereal (dry-cleaning fluid, for example), pungent (vinegarlike), and putrid ?

2. What is the common name for Halitosis ?

3. In Indian mythology Sage Vyasa's mother always smelt of fish, since she was born of a Nymph, cursed to be a fish. Later however due to a blessing received from a wandering sage named Parashara her smell changed to musk. What was her name ?


In a Raja Ravi Verma painting. 

4.The perfume 'Mitti Attar' made in perfume hubs like Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh and have a "Petrichor" aroma to it. In simpler terms, what does it smell like?

5. Which compound has its origins in the Greek word for " to smell" ?

6. The cells of this plants have a chemical called alliin. When the cells are ruptured by cutting they release an enzyme called allinaise, which changes the inherent alliin  to allicin, a sulphur-containing molecule. This  results in which characteristically distinctive smell ?

7.  In 1775 an English watchmaker named Alexander Cummings improved the design of the  flush toilet originally developed by  Sir John Harington  for Queen Elizabeth I. What important innovation was added by Cummings to his design?

8. Identify the artist.

9. Which class of organic compounds are responsible for the disagreeable odor of flatulence, the characteristic smell of coffee and is added to the odourless LPG so that any leaks can be detected ?

10. They can be trained to sniff out  explosive materials including TNT, Semtex, C-4 and Uranium as well as gunpowder and propellants. Also they can detect early signs of fungal disease on crops, cancers and TB. No not sniffer dogs, these can be trained in less than five minutes and are increasingly being used world over for their smelling ability, which is more powerful than that of a sniffer dog. What creatures belonging to the Hymenoptera family am I talking about ?


  1. 1. Molecules
    2. Bad breath
    3. Matsyagandha
    4. Earth
    5. Aroma
    8. Coco
    9. Sulphurous
    10. Bats

  2. 1. All named after a single item that bears that smell, i.e. all are of the form X-like.
    2. Bad breath
    4. Wet mud
    5. Bromine
    6. Cloves
    7. Used a design that prevented the smell from exiting the toilet
    8. Andy Warhol
    9. Compounds that contain nitrogen

  3. 2. Acne
    7. Flush
    9. Methane
    10. Bees
    Paul Regards

  4. 2. Bad breath 3. Matsyagandha 4. Mud/earth/soil (like the one after first rains) 9. Ammonia

  5. 1. They are the basic smells. Everything else are combos.
    2. Bad Breath
    3. Shakuntala
    4. Smell of earth when it rains
    5. Vicks
    6. Onion smell
    7. The u-shaped thingy behind the flush which ensures that the flush flushes fully
    8. Andy Warhol
    9. Carbon + Nitrogen + Oxygen + Hydrogen - some compound containing all these
    10. Mice


  6. 1. They are all from substances that evaporate.
    2. Bad breath
    3. Menaka
    4. Wet earth after first rain
    6. Smell of rotten eggs (H2S).
    7. Water seal (U-bend in pipe)
    8.Andy Warhol
    10. Porcupines

    V Gadgil

  7. 1. The seven base scents (like the five / six basic tastes)
    2. Bad breath
    3. Matsyagandha
    4. Wet earth (especially earth wettened by rain)
    5. Osmium (yes, I know it's not a compound)
    6. The smell of cut asparagus
    7. The water seal?
    8. Andy Warhol? (when in doubt...)
    9. Ketones
    10. Bees (your betes noir)

  8. 1. They are all caused by esters?
    2. Bad breath
    3. Matsyagandha
    4. Wet earth
    6. Lemongrass
    7. The water trap, that kept smells out.
    8. Andy Warhol
    9. Esters
    10. Ants

  9. 1 Ketones
    2 Bad Breath
    3 Matsyagandha
    4 Wet earth after rains
    5 Oleic compounds
    6 The smell of Onion or Garlic
    7 The U bend water trap
    9 Mercaptans
    10 Fruit Flies

  10. 1. basic smells
    2. bad breath
    3. matsyagandha
    4. smell of the soil after first rain
    9. Ethyl Mercaptine
    10. Honey bees?