Chemistry & biodiversity

Butane-2,3-dione: the key contributor to axillary and foot odor associated with an acidic note.

PMID 25676506


Human body odor, which contains several volatile organic compounds, possesses various odor qualities. To identify key volatile compounds responsible for the common unpleasant odors derived from human axillae and feet, the odor quality and intensity of 118 human axillae and feet were directly evaluated by sniffing, and odor compounds obtained from the subjects were identified. Furthermore, the sensory differences in odor intensity and quality with and without addition of butane-2,3-dione were evaluated by using the visual analog scale (VAS). An acidic odor was a common unpleasant note in human axillae and feet. Butane-2,3-dione was identified as a key compound associated with this odor. Strong positive correlations between the amount of butane-2,3-dione, and the odor intensities of axillae and feet were observed, and the addition of butane-2,3-dione solution to blended short-chain fatty-acid solutions caused significantly increased VAS values of axillary-like odor, unpleasantness, and odor intensity compared to those of each solution without added butane-2,3-dione.

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