According to studies made by Greek and foreign researchers, the human sense of smell uses the input from several hundred receptors to discriminate between tens of thousands of odorants. It seems this particular sense does not only depend on the molecules’ shapes of the substances that we smell in the air, but also on the molecules’ vibration.
The researchers found that most people have the ability to distinguish among different vibrating molecules and that happens because of quantum effects that occur in biological systems.
The researchers, according to PLOS ONE, include Dimitris Georganakis, Nikitas Ragoussis and Manolis Vamvakias of Vioryl S.A. Afidnes, Klio Maniati, Efthimios M. C. Skoulakis as well as fragrance chemist Luca Turin of the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre Alexander Fleming in Athens, and Simon Gane of University College London.
This theory which was first launched in 1996 by Luca Turin, has not yet gained universal acceptance within the scientific community, as the dominant perception that the sense of the smell depends only on the shape of molecules which are perceived biochemically by the nose’s relevant olfactory receptors, still remains. However, this study is the first evidence that humans can discriminate isotopes by smell.