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Odour in Textiles

The primary focus of our research involves investigating the development and retention of odour within textiles. This includes understanding the mechanisms of how odorants bind within textile fibres, how odour can be controlled as well as the relationship between odour-causing microflora with textiles (this includes both antimicrobial-treated, and textiles not treated with antimicrobials). We are investigating methods, both instrumental (e.g., measurement of chemical volatiles and potential precursors to odour) and sensory, to collect and measure the intensity and type of odorants which may emanate from textiles following use. This work started during Dr. McQueen's doctoral research and continues to be a major research focus at the University of Alberta. The research in this area is sparse, and in the ten years that Dr. McQueen has been researching odour in textiles, she has become one of the world’s leading experts in this field. Typically, most of the research that has been done in this area tends to be by researchers who are chemists, biochemists or microbiologists. Although Dr. McQueen collaborates with researchers from these disciplines, she believes, her success in this area comes from being a textile specialist first, and approaching her research from a human ecological perspective.