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January 10, 2006

Scientists Destinkify Poop

Some scientists work on repairing injured spines. Others peer back into the first moments of the universe. These guys don't roll like that. They're into the important stuff:

A chemist and a nose specialist have just invented a new compound that turns manure's stench into a "pleasant smelling" odor.

The invention could help to ease tensions between farmers and locals who cannot stand the smell of animal waste. In past decades, rural and urban areas were more clearly delineated, but population growth has led to housing developments in areas that once were unoccupied or solely used for farmland.


Olfactory neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who created the compound with organic chemist George Preti, explained to Discovery News that their process uses a one-two punch to snuff manure's malodorous bouquet.

He said one part of the process takes advantage of a natural phenomenon known as olfactory cross adaptation, which happens when the nose adapts to one odor and then becomes less sensitive to a second smell that is perceptually or structurally different from the first.

"The cross adapting compounds in the patent are hypothesized to bind to their appropriate receptor sites and those for the bad-smelling molecule, thereby blocking the malodorous parent molecule from activating its full complement of receptor sites," said Wysocki.


The second part of the one-two punch involves odor reducers that are stirred into manure to prevent its smelly substances from being released as a vapor.

The article's full of things you just don't read every day, like the statement that "Scientists still don't why humans find [the smell of crap] so disgusting," or why dogs eat their own feces.

A-Man, who apparently also Goolges for "Malodorous bouquet."

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posted by Ace at 10:43 PM

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