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Scientists get a taste and whiff of Manchester

09 Sep 2011

Researchers from all over the world who study how the senses of smell and taste work have assembled in Manchester this week.

The annual European Chemoreception Research Organisation (ECRO) conference is being hosted by The University of Manchester, and researchers are exchanging their latest findings in this fascinating area.

Among the talks being heard by the 200-strong audience are presentations on how the brain detects odours, how bitter tastes are detected, and a series of talks on pheromones – chemical messages – in insects, mice and humans. Debate is still raging over whether humans have pheromones, and some of the latest findings will be presented at the conference.

Researchers will also be discussing cultural differences in taste and exploring whether men and women differ in their sense of smell – there is some evidence to suggest women are generally more sensitive to odours as well as being better at using odours as indicators of social context.

Other research being presented at the conference will focus on using the sense of smell to develop new insect repellents, in particular, looking at mosquitoes that transmit malaria. There will also be time for some more practical studies of smell and taste, with special workshops on appreciating whisky and various kinds of honey.

“This is the first time the ECRO conference has been held in Manchester and it is a great honour to host this important scientific meeting,” said Professor Matthew Cobb, who along with Professor Krishna Persaud, has organised the event.

“As well as hearing about the latest international research, during the more informal parts of the meeting, we hope that the delegates will experience the huge range of smells and tastes offered by the pubs, cafés and restaurants of Manchester.”


Notes for editors

Professor Matthew Cobb’s research in the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences looks at how maggots detect odours.

Krishna Persaud is Professor of Chemoreception in the University’s School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science.

More details about the conference, which finishes tomorrow (Saturday), can be found at:

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8383
Mob: 07717 881563