Researchers have made zero on the source of our stench.
The same team, which identified several bacteria responsible for the smell of the human body, went a step further and identified the enzyme that acts in these organisms. It is the enzyme cysteine-thiol lyase (CT lyase) in bacteria such as Staphylococcus hominis, which makes the actual smelly molecules that inspired the entire deodorant industry to retain them.
“This is a key step forward in understanding how bad breath works, and will enable the development of targeted inhibitors that stop the production of BO at the source without disturbing the armpit microbiome,”; said University of York researcher Michelle Rudden.
Rudden co-authored an article on the enzyme published Monday in the Scientific Reports. The researchers worked with scientists from the personal care products giant Unilever, who can use the new understanding to develop new deodorant products.
Perhaps the most interesting finding of the study is that these stinking enzymes have been with humans since then, well … before we were humans. Researchers argue that this was accompanied by the passage of our ancestral ancestors to the evolution of modern humans and may have played a key role in social communication; Primates are known to use odors to send messages such as “shutdown”.
“This study was a real eye opener,” said Unilever co-author Gordon James. “It was exciting to find that the key odor-forming enzyme exists in only a few axillary bacteria and evolved there tens of millions of years ago.”