Soon, there will be a perfume strong enough to counter stinky loos in India and Africa |Source: Quartz India |
Excerpts – Perfume chemists have devised a tool aimed at stopping foul smells from undermining the struggle to improve sanitation in developing countries.
A team from Swiss firm Firmenich—better known for applying aroma expertise to perfumes and food—has developed a system to quantify six major faecal aroma chemicals at the same time in toilet air. The technique is described in a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology last month.
“This is to help make a perfume to cover the malodour,” Christian Starkenmann, a chemist at Firmenich and one of the study’s authors, said. Such perfumes would improve conditions in public toilets that charge for use, supporting a business model for building and maintaining sanitation where it is lacking, he added.
The Firmenich scientists analysed sludge from latrines in India, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. They were unable to collect a fully representative toilet smell using the first method they tried: Holding a polymer-coated needle above the sludge to absorb odorant chemicals. Specifically, this technique could not capture sulphur-containing gases.
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