January 29, 2009

Study: Women’s armpits smell of onions

A Swiss research group says a study it conducted found that women's underarms typically smell like onions, while men's smell like cheese.

Firmenich of Geneva, Switzerland, said its research on the armpit sweat of 24 men and 25 women found that women typically release an onion-like smell due to the combination of bacteria and a sulfur-containing compound, The Daily Telegraph said Thursday.

The combination of the two underarm residents creates a chemical called thiol, which smells distinctly like onions.

Men, meanwhile, typically release a cheese-like smell from their underarms once working up a sweat, Firmenich said.

The cheese smell is the result of enzymes created by bacteria combining with an odorless fatty acid.

Professor Tim Jacob of Cardiff University said the test results would likely vary in other parts of the world.

Other factors include what you eat, what you wash with, what you wear and what genes you inherit, the science of smell expert told the Telegraph.