Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Why Was Phrenology All the Rage in Victorian Times? If you’ve smelled … Blue cheese and Durian fruit have very strong smells. This is why our breath smells. Durians are so smelly, and thescent can linger for so long, that many hotels and public transportation in Singapore and Malaysia ban the fruit. Despite its sweet taste, the durian is legendary for its repellent odour – akin to raw sewage – and has been banned from public transport systems, airlines and … Anthony Bourdain calls it “indescribable, something you will either love or despise…Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” The fruit’s flesh is sometimes eaten raw, or is cooked and used to flavor a number of traditional Southeast Asian dishes and candies. Durians have a notorious aroma likened to rotting meat, turpentine and gym socks. The smell of gas reported in a students' library in Melbourne turned out to be a rotting durian. What everyone can agree on is that the fruit’s odor, whether pleasant or dreadful, is uncommonly potent. There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit, with over 300 named varieties in Thailand and 100 in Malaysia, as of 1987. Its taste and smell, however, take some getting used to. The durian, a husked tree fruit from Southeast Asia, may smell unspeakably terrible, but it still tastes sweet and delicious like its closely related cousin, the jackfruit. "The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe — someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins!" Image via Wikimedia Commons/Kalai. Smell, smell smell. More than 500 people were evacuated from the library at the University of Canberra in Australia when the smell of a durian prompted concerns about a potential gas leak. The former smells fruity, while the latter smells like onions. It can be smelled from yards away.”. The reason durian smells so bad has actually been discovered by science. Privacy Statement Even with the husk intact, the notorious Asian fruit has such a potent stench that it’s banned on the Singapore Rapid Mass Transit. This might account for a piece of traditional Asian folklore: that getting intoxicated while eating durians can lead to death. Durian, with its outer spikes, its inner slime, and its arsenal of odors, is an example of what can only be termed edible Stockholm syndrome. The cocktail of compounds that gives the durian fruit its notorious stench has been identified by chemists.. So to get back to your question, I bet the people who like the smell of Durian fruit probably have different smell receptors to those who think its disgusting. ... lobbyists in India and Malaysia are fighting to ban the use of this chemical ripener due to side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, burning or tingling sensation, numbness, headache and dizziness. Chemical analysis allowed them to produce a simulation of the durian smell, and it’s a rich tapestry. 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethanethiol 4. Crazy much but the smell of durian is so pungent when you remove the flesh from the seeds and start mashing them. How can something smell so darn gross? Humorous views on interesting, bizarre and amusing articles, submitted by a community of millions of news junkies, with regular Photoshop contests. The effect of this chemical lasts for few hours but the bad breath and body odour will continue till it is completely thrown out of our system by way of sweat or excreta. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2020 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. This week’s Reactions video explains the unique chemistry behind durian, and catches our co-hosts at PBS Digital Studios reacting to this stinky delicacy as they try it for the first time. The authors set out to identify the big chemical players in the durian's odor signature. Image via Wikimedia Commons/Kalai, If you’ve smelled a durian even once, you probably remember it. Ethanethiol is made up of different chemicals that can be found in other foods, lending them their smell. California Do Not Sell My Info Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. ... lobbyists in India and Malaysia are fighting to ban the use of this chemical ripener due to side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, burning or tingling sensation, numbness, headache and dizziness. Durians have a notorious aroma likened to rotting meat, turpentine and gym socks. Since the two plants separated, durian has … Vote Now! Durians have a notorious aroma likened to rotting meat, turpentine and gym socks. Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images. These smells warn us not to eat this food. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. This isn't the first research conducted on the durian's unique scent; in 2012, a team of German researchers identified dozens of chemical compounds that create to combine the smell, publishing their analysis in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The compounds are identified by their chemical formulas, which are likely cryptic to anyone without a degree in organic chemistry (1-{sulfanyl}ethanethiol, for example), but the research team associated each one with a particular odor. … Whatever Happened to Eddie the Eagle, Britain’s Most Lovable Ski Jumper? The smell of durian is caused by a mix of 44 odor-active compounds, 41 of which have been properly identified, including: 1. ethyl (2S)-2-methylbutanoate 2. ethyl cinnamate 3. 10.1021/cen-09829-newscripts-durian-gr1King stink: To the uninitiated, the smell of durian is strange and very intense. The fruit's yellowish flesh is sweet and custard-like, but it comes with an overpowering stench of garbage. Continue Our “Off the Road” blog profiled a pair of intrepid travelers on a year-long journey planned around tasting different varieties of durian. The durian, a husked tree fruit from Southeast Asia, may smell unspeakably terrible, but it still tastes sweet and delicious like its closely related cousin, the jackfruit. Ethanethiol is made up of different chemicals that can be found in other foods, lending them their smell. Scientists at the German Research Center for Food Chemistry at the Liebniz Institute carefully recreated a Thai durian’s smell using the 20 chemicals known to make up its aroma. Among the strongest were compounds that smelled of fruit, rotten onion and roasted onion. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Chemical analysis allowed them to produce a simulation of the durian smell, and it’s a rich tapestry. Durian releases a chemical compound called ethanethiol, which gets stronger and stronger as the fruits ripens. If you’ve smelled a durian even once, you probably remember it. The answer is kind of complicated: A 2017 study published in Nature Genetics found that the durian is actually related to the fragrant cacao (chocolate) plant. Watch Bacteria Mutate Into Drug-resistant Superbugs, Information about the device's operating system, Information about other identifiers assigned to the device, The IP address from which the device accesses a client's website or mobile application, Information about the user's activity on that device, including web pages and mobile apps visited or used, Information about the geographic location of the device when it accesses a website or mobile application. Native to Southeast Asia, durians are famous throughout the world for their distinct, love-it-or-hate-it taste and smell. In breaking down aroma extract, taken from Thai durians, with a mass spectrometer and gas chromatograph, the team, led by Jia-Ziao Li, pinpointed 50 discrete compounds in the fruit responsible for its uncommon aroma. No smell, they’re not ripe and unless you like crunchy durian, you won’t be happy. Most people who have tried durian either love it or hate it. Insights into the Key Compounds of Durian (Durio zibethinus L. ‘Monthong’) Pulp Odor by Odorant Quantitation and Aroma Simulation Experiments. Eating durians directly from their seeds is a whole different story ( It’s more pleasurable). What’s interesting is that none of the compounds individually seem to match with the characteristic durian smell—they range widely, and include labels like fruity, skunky, metallic, rubbery, burnt, roasted onion, garlic, cheese, onion and honey. No smell, they’re not ripe and unless you like crunchy durian, you won’t be happy. After a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas, but gas generated from durian, which had been left rotting in a cupboard. Place a bag of bamboo charcoal in the refrigerator to remove any persistent smell of durians. Some people love it, while others hate it. Food that’s rotten or mouldy could make us sick. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. There are a few other known examples of this, but there is a lot more to find (there are hundreds of different smell receptors, after all). It’s also used in traditional Asian medicine, as both an anti-fever treatment and a aphrodisiac. Reactions Science Videos | August 15, 2017. Give a Gift. In the case of the durian, researchers found a number of chemicals known to be hard on the nose—like hydrogen sulfide and methanethiol. Bamboo Charcoal; Bamboo charcoal has long been used as a deodorizer to remove practically all kinds of smells, from closets to shoe cabinets. The authors set out to identify the big chemical players in the durian’s odor signature. The durian, a husked tree fruit from Southeast Asia, may smell unspeakably terrible, but it still tastes sweet and delicious like its closely related cousin, the jackfruit. The smell is very strong and has been described as a combination of … Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. Durian is known as the king of fruits in Southeast Asia, but it’s also banned from many public spaces due to its powerful odor. Image via Wikimedia Commons/Steve Bennett. A team of researchers in Germany has analyzed a set of stinky and fruity chemical ingredients and found that the overall odor of durian pulp could … A small minority, though, love the smell and taste of the fruit. Smithsonian Institution. A number of them have been detected in just a few other substances, such as cooked beef, yeast extract, dried squid and leeks. DURIAN SMELL IN THE FRIDGE. But there are many smelly foods that are perfectly safe to eat! It is native to Borneo and Sumatra. or Their analysis suggests that it is not any single compound but instead the mixture of different chemicals that produces the fruit’s powerful stench. It works pretty effectively with durian smell too! Advertising Notice When combined, however, these two chemicals were indistinguishable from the durian odour. Smell is the second clue that a chemical change is happening. 'The durian smell has been described as a mix of an onion-like sulphury aroma with notes of sweet fruitiness and savoury soup-seasoning,' said geneticist Bin Tean Teh, deputy director of … But that research didn't investigate the genes behind those compounds. In doing so, they pinpointed 41 highly odor-active compounds, 24 of which scientists had not identified in durian before. Sour milk, rotten bananas and mouldy cheese all make smells. The cocktail of compounds that gives the durian fruit its notorious stench has been identified by chemists. Lacking, however, was information on which of those make a contribution to the characteristic durian smell. Terms of Use The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio. Joseph Stromberg was previously a digital reporter for Smithsonian. Durians are a divisive fruit from Asia and known for their strong aroma. (Credit: Shutterstock)Chemical CommunicationSmelldurianA photo of a durian … Somehow, the combination of these 50 chemicals produces the powerful scent that has entranced and repulsed people the world over. The researchers calculated the “odor activity values” of 19 of the durian’s smelly compounds to see which ones were the most potent. 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