U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in J. Environ. Qual. (2001) 30:624–634.


Direct multicomponent analysis of malodorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in ambient air samples from 29 swine (Sus scrofa) production facilities was used to develop a 19-component artificial swine odor solution that simulated olfactory properties of swine effluent. Analyses employing either a human panel consisting of 14 subjects or gas chromatography were performed on the air stream from an emission chamber to assess human olfactory responses or odorant concentration, respectively. Analysis of the olfactory responses using Fisher’s LSD statistics showed that the subjects were sensitive to changes in air concentration of the VOC standard across dilutions differing by approximately 16%. The effect of chemical synergisms and antagonisms on human olfactory response magnitudes was assessed by altering the individual concentration of nine compounds in artificial swine odor over a twofold concentration range while maintaining the other 18 components at a constant concentration. A synergistic olfactory response was observed when the air concentration of acetic acid was increased relative to the concentration of other VOC odorants in the standard. An antagonistic olfactory response was observed when the air concentration of 4-ethyl phenol was increased relative to the other VOC odorants in the standard. The collective odorant responses for nine major VOCs associated with swine odor were used to develop an olfactory prediction model to estimate human odor response magnitudes to swine manure odorants through measured air concentrations of indicator VOCs. The results of this study show that direct multicomponent analysis of VOCs emitted from swine effluent can be applied toward estimating perceived odor intensity.