Navigation Links
Cloning the smell of the seaside

Scientists from the University of East Anglia have discovered exactly what makes the seaside smell like the seaside ?and bottled it!

The age-old mystery was unlocked thanks to some novel bacteria plucked from the North Norfolk coast.

Prof Andrew Johnston and his team at UEA isolated this microbe from the mud at Stiffkey saltmarsh to identify and extract the single gene responsible for the emission of the strong-smelling gas, dimethyl sulphide (DMS).

"On bracing childhood visits to the seaside we were always told to 'breathe in that ozone, it's good for you'," said Prof Johnston.

"But we were misled, twice over. Firstly because that distinctive smell is not ozone, it is dimethyl sulphide. And secondly, because inhaling it is not necessarily good for you."

DMS is a little known but important gas. Across the world's oceans, seas and coasts, tens of millions of tonnes of it are released by microbes that live near plankton and marine plants, including seaweeds and some salt-marsh plants. The gas plays an important role in the formation of cloud cover over the oceans, with major effects on climate. Indeed, the phenomenon was used by James Lovelock as a plank to underpin his 'Gaia hypothesis'.

DMS is also a remarkably effective food marker for ocean-going birds such as shearwaters and petrels. It acts as a homing scent ?like Brussels sprouts at the Christmas dinner table! - and the birds sniff out their plankton food in the lonely oceans at astonishingly low concentrations.

Scientists have known about DMS for many years but the genes responsible for its production have never before been identified. The new findings will be published in the journal Science on Friday February 2.

"By isolating a single gene from a bacterium collected from the mud of Stiffkey marshes, we deduced that the mechanisms involved in DMS production differ markedly from those that had been predicted," said Prof Johnston. " And we discovered that other, wholly unexpected bacteria could also make that seaside smell."

The discovery adds to the diverse list of Stiffkey's claims to fame. The small coastal village is renowned for its 'Stewkey Blue' cockles and was also the home of Henry Williamson, author of 'Tarka the Otter'.

A more controversial figure from Siffkey's past was its rector, Rev Harold Davidson, who was defrocked in 1932 after allegedly 'cavorting with' London prostitutes. He later joined a circus and died after being mauled to death by a lion in Skegness. The UEA scientists are hoping to avoid such a fate, said Prof Johnston!
'"/>

Source:University of East Anglia


Related biology news :

1. Cloning techniques produce FDA-approved antibiotic
2. Love at first smell
3. Bacteria feed on smelly breath (and feet)
4. Fighting malaria by manipulating mosquitoes sense of smell
5. New study examines how sense of smell affects mating and aggression in mice
6. Worms know bad food when they smell it
7. Duck-billed dino crests not linked to sense of smell
8. Neuroscientists discover new cell type that may help brain maintain memories of smells
9. Can dogs smell cancer?
10. Researchers show how brain decodes complex smells
11. Quick -- what’s that smell?

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/7/2017)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... is pleased to announce that the latest release of ... and award winning eClinical solution, is now available for ... a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology platform that ... delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools to support ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... 2017 According to Acuity Market Intelligence, ... authorities to continue to embrace biometric and digital ... Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated ... than 163 ports of entry across the globe. ... a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... , Feb. 2, 2017   TapImmune, ... clinical-stage immuno-oncology company specializing in the development of ... the treatment of cancer and metastatic disease, announced ... and GMP manufacturing of a second clinical lot ... targeting folate receptor alpha. The manufactured vaccine product ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... , ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... organizations to build connected digital health applications, announced a partnership with Redox, a ... to seamlessly connect to many clinical systems while keeping data secure in the ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 21, ... ... the Life -Sciences division, Treximo will pair its $200M operational capacity with ... consulting and project management in areas affecting quality and operational management. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 21, 2017   ... US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider ... offering – Service Desk for Epic. The new service ... their internal Epic resources by giving physicians, nurses and ... IT specialists for tier-one support. This will allow hospital ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... MONTREAL , Feb. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: ... as President and CEO and Fabrice Orecchioni, the company,s COO, has ... as COO over the past four years, Fabrice has overseen the ... Sarnia and the management of the Mitsui JV.  Fabrice ... for the proposed China JV. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: