Flowers and Fragrances - Effects of Air Pollution on Flowers, fragrances of flowers, chemistry of fragrance, science of fragrance, science of flowers, discovery, discoveries, science of air pollutionI am sure you have been wondering why roses, these days, can't spread out such strong aromas that they used to do years ago! Your granny probably blames the gardener. I have heard people saying that it's due to the degrading qualities sold by unscrupulous floral traders that we can't smell roses from distance.

Hey... here's something that can bring wrinkles on your forehead. Yes... it's such an information that compelled many intelligent brains to be worried about the future - future of the planet. Biochemists and environmental scientists have traced out an adverse effect of air pollution on the floral fragrances. They have shown that air pollution restrains the fragrances of flowers from traveling spontaneously the distance they should. The pollutants released out of the flues of automobiles and industries, break apart the scent molecules, thereby altering the underlying chemistry. This results in destroying the delicate floral orders that are responsible for attracting bees and the other insects that act as the pollinating agents. Evidences have shown that these insects used to travel as long as three times the distance they are traveling these days. This means, the fragrances of the flowers can't travel more than one-third of the former distances! "What we find is that these fragrances only travel one-third of the distance that they used to travel," said Dr. Fuentes. I wonder, those days are not far away when roses will cease to spread out aroma. Dr. Fuentes also adds that "the pollinators are spending more time trying to locate food and less time trying to actually harvest food that they need". What if it continues to be like this? A time will come soon when this green planet will turn into a gray grave. Flowers and Fragrances - Effects of Air Pollution on Flowers, fragrances of flowers, chemistry of fragrance, science of fragrance, science of flowers, discovery, discoveries, science of air pollutionPlant population is running a risk of being destroyed, because plants need insects to pollinate that allows flowers to reproduce. According to him, one single action that we can take to prevent this situation from getting more grave is to “work towards having a very clean environment”.

Let's have a brief understanding of sensing mechanism of smells.

What is smell? Smell is the sensory response to the complex combination of certain chemicals present in the atmosphere surrounding us. These chemicals are called “Odorants”. We can sense a smell when we are able to sense a specific combination of these chemicals. These chemicals bind into distinctive combinations to form specific proteins, which stimulates the protein receptors that line the cells present in our nose. Each kind of receptors can detect only a specific kind of fragrance, i.e. each specific kind of chemical combinations. This way we can sense smell and distinguish one from the other.

Why is air pollution held responsible?

Air pollution is promoted by millions of pollutant particles (called Aerosols) present in gases, droplets and smokes. Once released, these pollutants remain suspended freely in the air, making it dirty. These chemical particles reacts with the fragrance molecules of the flowers and breaks off their chemical bondage. This consequently cause the loss of chemical properties in the fragrance molecules released by flowers. It's due to this typical chemical soup that floral fragrances are not perceived from distances.

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