A perfume is a smell or odor usually a composition more or less persistent naturally emitted by a plant, animal, fungus, an environment.
In nature, scents are often notified chemical and biochemical, including pheromones or plant hormones.
It may also involve the expression of a natural substance (an extract of flowers for example) or created or recreated from various flavorings, solvents and fixatives for a cosmetic or perfume objects, animals or indoor air. It is then usually made from plant extracts and / or synthetic molecules. The use of fragrances by humans is very ancient, dating back to antiquity.
The term now refers to the fragrance more often a particular olfactory composition, highly concentrated, packaged and offered intensive olfactory different brands of perfumes (Guerlain, Chanel, Estee Lauder ...) It is said also extracted. The person who creates a perfume fragrance is called, or more familèrement nose and this activity is the perfume.
In this area (perfumery / cosmetics), by abuse of language, "perfume" is also used today to refer to a toilet water, a perfume or cologne.
The word perfume comes from the expression per smoker, which means "the smoke", probably due to traditional customs and ancient sacred fumigations, medicinal or ritual (eg incense or different plant substances).
The word perfume appeared late in the French language (no mention before 1528). Derived from the verb to smoke, he first spoke of odoriferous substances which are burned before taking its current meaning in the seventeenth century.
The aromas and flavors in nature
In the animal world, the olfactory system plays a major role in many animals, strongly interacting with the hormonal communication, recognition between species and individuals (male - female "and" mother - small "), the mechanisms of reproduction and some social interaction (relationships and dominance) often depend.
In the plant world, odorant (attractive and / or repulsive, phytohormones) also play a major role.
Particularly strong ecological interactions with pollinators (bees, butterflies, hoverflies, etc..) Are partly dependent on floral fragrances, the bitterness and floral aroma and sweet nectar character - a balanced mix of attractive and repulsive substances - guarantee optimum reproduction plants. The fragrance of a flower, particularly for those who are pollinated by night (honeysuckle for example) has a dual role: to attract and guide pollinators are rewarded with nectar and pollen. The plant also makes components that make quite bitter nectar for the insect does not charge too much or to divert consumers of nectar that would not be able to pollinate this species.
The plant also emits protective substances for the flower and the flower organs (such compounds are toxic insecticides and fungicides such as nicotine in tobacco. It was thus shown that wild tobacco plants (Nicotiana attenuata) GM not to produce nicotine and / or benzalacétone (flavor that contributes to the smell of cocoa, jasmine and strawberry) are less well fertilized and produce up to 5 times fewer seeds.
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