Scientists Discover Enzyme Making Body Odor Smell Bad

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 14:09
body odor

Scientists from the University of York in cooperation with Unilever scientists have identified a unique BO enzyme found only in the bacteria that live under the arm that is responsible for the armpit odor.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, highlights how particular bacteria have evolved a specialized enzyme to produce some of the key molecules recognized as BO, Telegraph reports.

Co-first author Dr Michelle Rudden from the group of Professor Gavin Thomas in the University of York’s department of biology, said: “Solving the structure of this BO enzyme has allowed us to pinpoint the molecular step inside certain bacteria that makes the odor molecules.

“This is a key advancement in understanding how body odor works, and will enable the development of targeted inhibitors that stop BO production at source without disrupting the armpit microbiome.”

Scientists identify Staphylococcus hominis as one of the main microbes behind body odor. Researchers discovered the enzyme by transferring it to non-odor producing bacteria and found that it also began to produce a smell.

When the bacteria in the armpit encounter sweat they produce pungent products called thioalcohols which are responsible for the odor.


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