Smelly Armpits! Scientists Discover What Causes Body Odour
Are you one of those people who have been afraid to raise their hands in public due to the embarrassing body odour? Worry not, as scientists say they are a step closer to conquering smelly armpits, by identifying exactly what causes it.
Researchers in England say they’ve identified a protein that enables bacteria in your armpits to take up odorless compounds in sweat and make it stink.
The experts at the University of York and University of Oxford have also discovered exactly how these bacteria take up the odourless compounds and turn them into whiffy chemicals that have become known as BO.
The benefit of the discovery is that manufacturers can now create deodorants with targeted active ingredients – making them much more effective.
According to the investigators, it may be possible to develop new deodorants that target this protein, known as a “transport” protein.
According to Gavin Thomas, from the University of York’s department of biology – a co-author of the study – which was published on July 3, in the journal eLife, the underarm skin provides a hospitable home for bacteria.
“Through the secretions of various glands that open onto the skin or into hair follicles, this environment is nutrient-rich and hosts its own microbial community,” he said in a university news release.
“Modern deodorants work by inhibiting or killing many of those bacteria in order to prevent odour.
“This study, along with our previous research revealing that only a small number of the bacteria in our armpits are actually responsible for bad smells, could result in the development of more targeted products that aim to inhibit the transport protein and block the production of body odour.”
The researchers say the discovery may have important implications for medical science.