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Med Sci (Paris). 2019 Feb;35(2):123-131. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2019001. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

[Medical diagnosis by breath analysis: odor sensors].

[Article in French]

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NeuroBiologie de l'Olfaction, INRA, université Paris-Saclay, 78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France.


An odor sensor is a device for detecting target odors within a mixture, used in many fields including medical diagnosis. Electronic noses are networks of olfactory sensors, consisting of a surface whose properties are modified in the presence of odors, coupled with a measurement system. Their olfactory signature is analyzed in comparison with databases. Such portable devices can monitor body odors, e.g. in the breath, so as to reliably diagnose various pathologies at an early stage and non-invasively. It is tempting to use the naturally optimized molecular recognition of odorants and intrinsic sensitivity of the animal olfactory system to detect and discriminate minute amounts of odorants. New bioelectronic hybrid devices or "bioelectronic noses" can be designed by replacing the artificial sensory elements of e-noses by proteins naturally binding odorants, particularly olfactory receptors. As in the animal olfactory system, the detection and discrimination of odorants require a network of olfactory receptors. Prototypes of such miniaturized bioelectronic noses yield promising results.


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