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Chemical and sensory study of human body odours released by two types of textiles


*Corresponding author
1. Odournet sl, Can Domènec s/n, Parc de Recerca UAB, Edificio Eureka P2M2, 08192 Bellaterra, Barcelona
2. Odournet UK, 5, St. Margaret’s Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1DA, United Kingdom


The effect of different types of textiles (cotton and polyester) in terms of body odour generation were tested on a group of previously screened volunteers under laboratory conditions. Sweat odour intensity generated by the subjects after wearing the same type of t-shirts was assessed by a calibrated and trained olfactory panel to ensure a minimum odour level for subsequent analysis of the components responsible for the odour perception. A combination of sensory and chemical methodologies was implemented for this purpose. The results demonstrated that sweat odour was more intense in polyester, but a more complex VOCs profile was observed in cotton. The interrelation between sensory and chemical aspects concerning body odour and textiles have been further discussed.


Characteristic body odour is a complex mixture of volatiles (VOCs) including short- and long-chain hydrocarbons, alcohols, organic acids, ketones and aldehydes caused by the microbial transformation of odourless natural secretions into volatile odorous molecules (1). The main contribution to the body odour comes from the axillary zone, where dense aggregations of eccrine, apocrine, apoeccrine and sebaceous glands are present, which nurture diverse communities of microorganisms (2). The body odour is absorbed by the textiles used in direct contact with the body. Cotton and polyester are two types of textiles used very commonly. Cotton is a natural fibre known by its hydrophilic nature, while polyester is a synthetic chemical fibre characterised by a