Does your urine have that unusual "Marcel Proust" scent? This time it's not his delicious madeleine but the asparagus he evokes in Du côté de chez Swann where he links urine, perfume and asperges (and only Marcel knows if it's for their shape or their scent).
The Monell Center did an unusual study combining smell and genetics about the asparagus odour found in human urine.
"Most people detect a distinct sulfurous odor in their urine shortly after eating asparagus. However, there are some who seemingly do not notice the unpleasant odor. Up until now, it has been unclear whether this is because these individuals do not produce the odor or because they cannot smell it. Addressing this mystery from several angles, scientists from the Monell Center first used sophisticated sensory testing techniques to show that both explanations apply: approximately eight percent of the subjects tested did not produce the odorous substance, while six percent were unable to smell the odor. One person both did not produce the odor and was unable to smell it. [...] Specifically, we have learned that changes in an olfactory receptor gene can have a large effect on a person’s ability to smell certain sulfurous compounds. Other such compounds include mercaptan, the chemical used to add odor to natural gas so that people are able to detect it."
The rest of the article is here.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art