Feb. 28th, 2017

geosmin

Feb. 28th, 2017 07:50 am
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geosmin - n., an organic compound (C12H22O) responsible for the musty, earthy smell of soil and beets.


As well as many other things with that smell, such as the petrichor after the first rain in a while, and the muddy aromas of catfish. Human noses, which are not noted for their general acuity, can detect geosmin even at 5 parts per trillion, possibly because it's produced by bacteria and molds that decay and spoil food. The name was coined in 1965 by American biochemists Gerber and Lechevalier, who first isolated the compound, naming it from the Latin root geo, Earth + Greek osme, odor.

---L.

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