Navigation Links
Good earth: Brown chemists show origin of soil-scented geosmin
Date:9/16/2007

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University chemists have found the origins of an odor the sweet smell of fresh dirt. In Nature Chemical Biology, the Brown team shows that the protein that makes geosmin source of the good earth scent has two similar but distinct halves, each playing a critical role in making this organic compound.

Everyone is familiar with the wonderful smell of warm earth, said David Cane, professor of chemistry at Brown who oversaw the research. Now we know precisely how it is made.

Geosmin, which literally translates to earth smell, was scientifically identified more than 100 years ago. In soil, bacteria produce the chemical compound. In water, blue-green algae make it. Along with the pleasant scent of warm, moist soil, geosmin is also responsible for the muddy off taste in some drinking water. That is why the substance is of interest to water purification experts and even vintners, who want to keep the benign but pungent substance out of their wine.

Until recently, scientists knew little about how geosmin is made. Then, a few years ago, Cane found the gene responsible for geosmin formation in Streptomyces coelicolor, a strain of plant-munching bacteria found in soil. Last year, the team discovered that a single protein converts farnesyl diphosphate to geosmin.

In their new work, Cane and his lab team found that this protein, called germacradienol/geosmin synthase, folds into two distinct but connected parts, similar to a dumbbell. One piece is responsible for the first half of the reaction, cranking out a chemical that wafts over to the companion bit of protein, which then produces geosmin.

We found that geosmin is created by this bifunctional enzyme, Cane said. The two steps of the process that forms geosmin are metabolically related. This finding was a real surprise. This is the first bifunctional enzyme found for this type of terpene, the class of chemicals geosmin belongs to.

Jiaoyang Jiang, a Brown graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and lead author of the journal article, said microbiologists working in water purification plants will be most interested in knowing the origins of geosmin. By understanding precisely how the substance is synthesized, Jiang said, these experts may find a way to block it avoiding the foul taste that keeps people away from the tap.

Geosmin may smell good in the garden, but not in the glass, she said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Brown-Harvard team solves mobile DNAs surgical sleight-of-hand
2. Prions rapidly remodel good protein into bad, Brown study shows
3. How nice, brown rice: Study shows rice bran lowers blood pressure in rats
4. Brown seaweed contains promising fat fighter, weight reducer
5. Brown scientists map structure of DNA-doctoring protein complex
6. Chemicals in brown algae may protect against skin cancer
7. Brown team finds crucial protein role in deadly prion spread
8. Brown cancer biologists identify major player in cell growth
9. Bones in motion: Brown scientists to create new 3-D X-ray system
10. Chemists create Superbowl molecule; May lead to better health
11. Duke Chemists Isolating Individual Molecules Of Toxic Protein In Alzheimers, Parkinsons Disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)...  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union ... integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into ... result in greater convenience for SACU members and ... existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new ... in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast ... results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prairie, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... consultancy focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... is presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ReportsnReports.com adds 2016 global ... pharmaceuticals section with historic and forecast data along ... Complete report on the Cell Culture ... companies and supported with 261 tables and figures ... The Global Cell Culture Media Industry ...
Breaking Biology Technology: