The Bacteria Behind BOadmin
Researchers from the University of York, in collaboration with Unilever, believe they’ve uncovered the “BO enzyme” that is found only within the bacteria linked to “odorous armpits,” IFLScience.com reports. Called C-T lyase, this enzyme facilitates the production of thioalcohol from strains of bacteria belonging to the Staphylococcus family, the most common offender being Staphylococcus hominins, a common and harmless bacteria found on the skin of animals including humans.
“Solving the structure of this ‘BO enzyme’ has allowed us to pinpoint the molecular step inside certain bacteria that makes the odor molecules. This is a key advancement in understanding how body odor works and will enable the development of targeted inhibitors that stop BO production at the source without disrupting the armpit microbiome,” co-first author Dr. Michelle Rudden of the University of York said in a statement.
This research is especially important for Unilever. “This research was a real eye-opener,” Dr. Gordon James of Unilever said. “It was fascinating to discover that a key odor-forming enzyme exists in only a select few armpit bacteria – and evolved there tens of millions of years ago.”