Odor perception can differ markedly from person to person.  According to an article in ‘Scientific American’ (12/2007)
“Scientists at Rockefeller University and Duke university have demonstrated that chemicals secreted in male sweat can smell like stale urine to one person, sweet flowers or vanilla to the next, or nothing at all to another, depending in part on which variant of an odorant receptor they have in their noses.”

Some individuals have odorous urine after eating asparagus, and it was long thought to be a genetic trait since some people seemed to be immune to this effect. The odor is caused by a asparagusic acid which the body converts into methanethiol (closely related to skunk spray!).  It now appears that there are exceptions on both sides of the phenomenon.  Due to genetic differences, most but not all people produce methanethiol after eating asparagus, and most but not all people can detect the odor.

Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles, which never show themselves above ground. Truffles produce a chemical virtually identical to a sex pheromone present in male pig's saliva. Sensing this odor prompts mating behavior in the female pigs as they rut and try to get at the buried truffles. Men also secrete this chemical in their underarm sweat.

Rub your hands with salt and lemon juice to remove fish odors.


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