Results tagged “androstadienone” from Jessica Snyder Sachs, Science Writer

Bacterial Mouth Magic

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Wine-Romance-byLizLyonsFriedman.jpgI've long been intrigued by the idea that we have bacteria to thank for human pheromones, or "sex scents." Even the sweatiest human underarms remain odorless until skin bacteria process the sweat into the odiferous  steroids that will arouse those inclined toward your gender.

(linocut by Liz Lyons Friedman)

 
Now Swiss biochemists say we can thank our microflora for another inherently pleasurable odor--that of good food and drink.

Scientists at Firmenich, a Geneva-based producer of flavor and perfume chemicals found that mouth bacteria produce the lingering "retro-aromas" we enjoy after swallowing food and drink containing fruits such as grapes and vegetables such as onions and sweet peppers. Specifically, they found that anaerobic mouth bacteria transform odorless sulfur compounds into odor-rich thiols. Your saliva traps the thiols in a way that allows you to savor. Their study is in this month's issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

So just maybe, before your next romantic dinner, consider a mutual agreement to lay off the antibacterial mouthwash and at least dial back on the deodorant--for maximum enjoyment of the food, wine, and company.