- Researchers studying microbes that cause body odor in humans have pinpointed the enzyme responsible for odor molecules.
- The so-called “BO enzyme” produces molecules that we detect as a stinking body odor.
- Further, products targeting this enzyme could provide advanced prevention of body odor.
You really have to pass this on to the scientists. Depending on the field of study, they can include incredible discoveries such as new planets, new species of animals and plants, or even the treatment of deadly diseases. Other researchers choose to focus their efforts on less prestigious but still important areas of study, such as figuring out why your armpits stink.
Scientists first study the nose in search of a specific enzyme that creates what we call body odor, or “BO”. The work was published in 2006 Scientific reports, and it may repel you a little.
This is not the first research-related study involving researchers. Researchers from York University have previously identified microbial species that cause a lot of odor in the human body. They have now taken it a step further by identifying a specific enzyme that creates stinking molecules.
Body odor is a characteristic feature of Homo sapiens, but its role in human behavior and evolution is poorly understood. It is extremely important that body odor is associated with the presence of several types of commensal microbes. Here, we discover a bacterial enzyme confined to odor-forming staphylococci that are able to remove odorless thioalcohol precursors, which are the sharpest components of body odor.
Okay, that̵7;s a bit of a complicated explanation, but the idea is pretty simple: The so-called “BO enzyme” is used by certain bacteria that create a pungent body odor.
“By solving the structure of this ‘BO enzyme’, we have allowed us to pinpoint the molecular step inside certain bacteria that make up odor molecules,” Dr. Michelle Rudden, co-author of the study. “This is a major achievement in understanding how body odor works, and it will allow the development of targeted inhibitors that stop the production of BO in its place without damaging the armpit microbiome.”
Not surprisingly, the study was conducted in collaboration with Unilever. Unilever, if you don’t know it, is a “mega-corps” that owns many brands. Many of these brands, such as Ax, Dove, Brut and Suave, were interested in how well their anti-odor products work. By making the exact enzyme responsible for human odor, they can fight it more effectively and, as Dr. Rudden notes, prevent damage to other microbes in the process.
So the next time you hear about scientists discovering a new galaxy or some as yet unseen deep-sea species, remember that other scientists work just as hard to make sure you don’t stink so much on your next date. .