It has been for decades that no one has been able to identify a human pheromone whose appearance in the market could be quite sensational, leading to it becoming widely used.Still, due to the support provided by atmospheric chemists, the search may soon be over.
In 1959, a German biochemist Adolf Butenandt isolated the world's first pheromone - namely a compound known as bombykol ? that is used by female silkmoths to attract partners.Later on, whole generations of researchers would search for similarly strong chemicals in humans, yet they have not managed to identify a single one of this kind.What comes as interesting, certain hypotheses - as the one concerning women living together whose menstrual cycles become synchronised by means of chemical signals - have not passed the test of time.
Andreas Natsch, a researcher at the Givaudan company dealing with scents (Vernier, Switzerland), describes the field of science as being in crisis.
The problem related to the slow progress is mostly related to the fact that pheromones in humans is still a narrow field that receives little funding.The human body emits hundreds of volatile compounds. Most research on pheromones is only focused on a small fraction of substances, e.g. collected by asking participants to wear shirts over a night or place pads under their armpits, proceeding to analyse the such-captured compounds by using a mass spectrometer.Still, the new method that uses PTR-MS allows scientists to measure compounds in real time and identify the ones that change their abundance after having been subject to certain stimulation.Due to this, the precision of the research significantly increases, while it turns out that such "chemical signatures" are subject to dynamic changes even when in the cinema, depending on the present action or course of events in the film being watched.These discoveries may speed up further research and lead to the solution of one of the greatest mysteries of the recent years - human pheromones.