Author Jane Clinton wrote the following article in iNews:
It is the unwelcome aroma that leaves people reaching for the deodorant.
But now scientists have identified the key enzyme behind BO which could lead to new treatments that successfully blitz armpit odour “at source”.
A team from the University of York previously showed that only a few bacteria in our armpits are the culprits for BO.
Now the same team, in collaboration with Unilever scientists, have discovered a unique ‘BO enzyme’ found only within these bacteria which is responsible for the pungent underarm odour.
Dr Michelle Rudden from the University of York’s Department of Biology and co-first author of the study said: “Solving the structure of this ‘BO enzyme’ has allowed us to pinpoint the molecular step inside certain bacteria that makes the odour molecules.
“This is a key advancement in understanding how body odour works and will enable the development of targeted inhibitors that stop BO production at source without disrupting the armpit microbiome.”
Our armpits host a diverse community of bacteria that is part of our natural skin microbiome.
This research, a collaboration between the University of York and Unilever R & D, highlights Staphylococcus hominis as one of the main microbes behind body odour.
Researchers have also said their findings suggest that “body odour existed prior to the evolution of modern humans and may have had an important role in societal communication among ancestral primates.”
Unilever co-author Dr Gordon James said: “This research was a real eye-opener. It was fascinating to discover that a key odour-forming enzyme exists in only a select few armpit bacteria - and evolved there tens of millions of years ago.”