Researchers develop technique to visualize floral scent in real-time

Using a laser-based gas detection system, South Korean researchers have developed a technique for the visualization of flower fragrance patterns in real-time. The technique can be upgraded to be applied to gas detectors to monitor how volatile chemical compounds that can be easily vaporized are spread across indoor and outdoor spaces.

Flowers emit sweet and fruity, or sometimes putrid scents to attract insects for pollination or ward off herbivores for protection. Scents in a form of volatiles are measured using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques but such methods cannot see the emission patterns of flower scents. Researchers are still unclear whether scents are emitted continuously or discontinuously.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) said that its research teams collaborated to visualize the emission of flower scents in real-time for the first time in the world. Researchers used a laser-based detection system to directly measure the emission of volatile organic compounds from a lily flower.

Researchers found that the flower scent visualization technique can be used for the analysis of genes that are involved in the synthesis and emission of flower scents. The evolution of volatile organic compounds emitted by flowers and the interaction between flowers and insects can be studied based on the analysis.

"This technique can be upgraded for military and industrial purposes to detect the spread and exposure of hazardous noxious substances over a limited area," KAIST researcher Kim Hyoung-soo said in a statement on May 10.



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