Researchers have zeroed in on the source of our smell.
The same team identifying the bacteria responsible for the smell of the human body has now gone a step further and pinpointed the enzymes that function within these organisms. It is a cysteine-thiol lyase (CT lyase) enzyme within bacteria such as Staphylococcus hominis that produces real smelly molecules that have inspired an entire industry of deodorant to contain them.
“This is an important advancement in understanding how body odor works, and will enable the development of targeted inhibitors that inhibit BO production at the source without disrupting the armpit microbiome,” University of York researcher Michelle Rauden Said in a release.
Rudden is the co-author of a paper on enzymes published on Monday in Scientific Reports. The researchers also worked closely with scientists at personal care products giant Unilever, who can use new insights into the development of new deodorant products.
Perhaps the most interesting discovery in research is that these stink-causing enzymes have been with humans, well … ever since we were humans. Researchers say that it was for our ancestors riding before the development of modern humans and could play an important role in social communication; Primates have been known to use oders to send messages, such as “back off”.
“This research was a real eye opener,” Unilever co-author Gordon James said. “This suggests that a significant odor-forming enzyme is present only in a select few adjacent bacteria and evolved tens of millions of years ago.”