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What Causes The Smell of Fresh-Cut Grass?


© Compound Interest

What Causes The Smell of Fresh-Cut Grass?

The second in the ‘Aroma Chemistry’ series, this graphic examines the smell of fresh-cut grass. This is oft-mentioned when discussions of favourite smells come up, so what are the chemical compounds behind it?

Grass emits volatile organic compounds normally, even without being cut. Research has shown that the amount of the compounds emitted can vary depending on light intensity and temperature. A wide range of compounds are given off, and both the intensity, and the identity of these compounds, is impacted when the plant is damaged. The emissions increase markedly when grass is cut, and it is the production of compounds containing six carbons, and oxygen, that causes the fresh-cut grass smell.

  • volatile organic compounds
  • phospholipids
  • 3-hexenal
  • 3-hexen-1-ol
  • hexenals
  • hexenols
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