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•  Detection of chemicals in the air by the many different olfactory receptors

Olfaction is the ability to detect airborne chemicals (odorants) as scents or smells

  • At the back of the nasal cavity is a patch of tissue called the olfactory epithelium, which is embedded with chemoreceptors
  • The olfactory epithelium is lined with mucus, in which odorant molecules will dissolve before binding to the chemoreceptors
  • Binding of an odorant molecule will trigger a nerve impulse, which is transferred via the olfactory bulb to the brain
  • The combination of olfactory receptors activated determines the specific scent perceived by the brain

Olfactory Receptors


Ted Talks – How Do We Smell?

View the full lesson here