Which solvent for olfactory testing?

CM Philpott, P.C. Goodenough, C.R. Wolstenholme, G.E. Murty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The physical properties of any carrier can deteriorate over time and thus alter the results in any olfactory test. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinically potential solvents as a clean odourless carrier for olfactory testing. Sweet almond oil, pure coconut oil, pure peach kernel oil, dipropylene glycol, monopropylene glycol, mineral oil and silicone oil were studied. The experimentation was conducted in two parts. First, an olfactory device was used to conduct air through the solvents on a weekly basis using a cohort of six volunteers to assess the perceived odour of each solvent at weekly intervals. Secondly a cross-reference test was performed using small bottled solutions of phenylethyl-alcohol and 1-butanol in 10-fold dilutions to compare any perceived difference in concentrations over a period of 8 weeks. We concluded that mineral oil is the most suitable carrier for the purpose of olfactory testing, possessing many desirable characteristics of an olfactory solvent, and that silicone oil may provide a suitable alternative for odorants with which it is miscible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-671
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Otolaryngology and Allied Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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