Earthy and musty odours are amongst the most frequently observed objectionable odours in water supplies, and geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol are identified as the chemical compounds most closely associated with these odours. In this paper, the sensory properties, and the water matrix effects on taste and odour panel studies, as well as the chemical analysis methods for earthy and musty odours in drinking water caused by geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol, are reviewed. Insights are developed to enable better evaluation of earthy and musty odours in drinking water. Early detection of geosmin and MIB can prevent off-flavour occurrence by providing information for potential treatment.

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