Durian fruit looks menacing as its smell. This fruit from Southeast Asia looks like the large spiked ball found in killer medieval flail weapon. The fruit looks like something you may have never seen before - a cantaloupe with large, killer spikes.
This spiky fruit is one of those things you may hate at first smell, but may love at first bite. The fruit pulp has this buttery goodness that melts in your mouth.
But the rotten stench of the fruit alone dissuades someone almost instantaneously at a glance much less eat it. The smell is reminiscent of sewage, gym socks and rotten onion combined.
But what makes durian stench so much?
The group of chemists at the German Research Center for Food Chemistry in Freising, Germany discovered two compounds responsible for durian's horrible odor.
Using aroma extract dilution analysis and gas chromatography-olfactometry, the team screened the compound emitted by the durian pulp.
The scientists did something similar to a smell test which involved analyzing compounds and their specific smell. The process mimicked mixing different scents to come up with one distinct scent. They isolated 19 compounds and graded the strength of each.
Scientists identified two distinct smells coming close to the smell of durian. The scents came from two compounds, ethyl (2S)-2-methylbutanoate and 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane-1-thiol, giving off the most pungent smell. When combined, the two compounds replicated the smell of durian fruit almost exactly.
For some reason, those who love durian no longer smell the stench. In fact, the smell of the fruit has grown on them that it now smells fragrant like a newly bloomed flower.
The researchers published their findings in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
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