My watch list
my.chemeurope.com  
Login  

Fungal compound deodorizes skunk smell

29-Jul-2019

sipa on Pixabay

Being sprayed by a skunk is no fun for people or their pets, and the strong, stinky secretions can serve as a nasty reminder of the wildlife encounter for days or weeks. Available "de-skunking" formulas often either don't work well or can irritate the skin and eyes. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Natural Products have identified a compound from fungi that safely and effectively neutralizes skunk spray odor.

When skunks feel threatened, they spray fluids from their anal glands that contain several nasty-smelling organosulfur compounds. The human nose can detect extremely low concentrations of these substances, making it difficult to completely rid clothing, hair, fur or skin of the stink. Various home and commercial remedies claim to neutralize skunk odor, but they often don't work well or contain skin and eye irritants. Robert Cichewicz and colleagues wondered if a natural product they had previously identified from fungi, called pericosine A, could react with and neutralize odoriferous compounds in skunk spray.

To find out, the researchers mixed pericosine A with different organosulfur compounds from skunk spray and analyzed the products of the reactions. They discovered that the fungal compound reacted with two types of organosulfur compounds -- thiols and thioesters -- and converted them to stable, odorless products. Then, the team very slightly altered the structure of pericosine A and adjusted other ingredients in the reaction to produce a formula that would be safer and more effective for skin application than the original compound. Finally, the researchers used in vitro eye and skin tests to determine that the fungal compound was non-irritating.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • skunks
  • fungi
  • organosulfur compounds
  • pericosine A
More about American Chemical Society
  • News

    A chameleon-inspired smart skin changes color in the sun

    Some creatures, such as chameleons and neon tetra fish, can alter their colors to camouflage themselves, attract a mate or intimidate predators. Scientists have tried to replicate these abilities to make artificial "smart skins," but so far the materials haven't been robust. Now, researcher ... more

    Making polyurethane waste degradable gives its components a second life

    Polyurethane waste is piling up in landfills, but scientists have a possible solution: They have developed a method to make polyurethane degradable. Once the original product's useful life is over, the polymer can easily be dissolved into ingredients to make new products such as superglue. ... more

    'Semi-synthetic' bacteria churn out unnatural proteins

    Synthetic biologists seek to create new life with forms and functions not seen in nature. Although scientists are a long way from making a completely artificial life form, they have made semi-synthetic organisms that have an expanded genetic code, allowing them to produce never-before-seen ... more

  • Videos

    What Makes Rubber Rubbery?

    Reactions is looking at sports science today. Sports balls owe their reliability to an unusual polymer. Learn about the chemistry of rubber the all-star’s best friend! more

    Dragon's Blood Could Save Your Life

    This week Reactions is looking at chemistry in bizarre places that could save your life. The science within the blood of the Komodo dragon or in a horseshoe crab can help with antibiotic resistance. But it doesn't end there, so we're taking a closer look at other wild places in nature that ... more

    Why is Olive Oil Awesome?

    Whether you sop it up with bread or use it to boost your cooking, olive oil is awesome. But a lot of chemistry goes on in that bottle that can make or break a product. Take the “extra virgin” standard: Chemistry tells us that a higher free-fatty-acid content leads to a lower grade, less tas ... more

More about University of Oklahoma
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE