Press / Media items

Odourless discovery

Press / Media: Research

01/03/2016
EXPERIMENT NL; Science in the Netherlands; March issue 2016, pp. 22 Odourless discovery Sometimes discoveries fall out of the sky for scientists. It happened to bioengineer Marco Fraaije from the University of Groningen. Fraaije was working on the oxidation of alcohol compounds: he made molecules from the family of aromatic alcohols by using enzymes. The products of these reactions can be used to produce polymers and plastics. On a hunch he discovered that the enzyme he was using for the oxidation reaction also worked with thiol molecules. Thiols strongly resemble alcohols, but they have a sulphur atom instead of an oxygen atom. And the smell: skunks use thiols, but thiols also add taste to coffee, wine and popcorn. Fraaije's oxidation reaction make the smell of the thiols disappear. And so this research could lead to a spray that combats foul smells.

References

  • Odourless discovery

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