The King Of Fruits – An Odour To Remember

The King Of Fruits – An Odour To Remember


7 September 2016


The durian is known for its pungent odour earning it the reputation of being one of the smelliest fruits known. Some people cannot stand the smell of it and as it’s an odour that lingers, the durian has been banned from some hotels and public places – it’s a fruit that leaves a strong impression!

Why does it smell so? Read on to find out.

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It’s a mixture of at least 50 discrete compounds

The scent of the durian has been colourfully described as “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock”. The unique smell caught the attention of a group of scientists from Germany from the German Research Center for Food Chemistry, and they attempted to figure out how exactly the fruit produces such a powerful stench. The study then published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, breaks down the aroma extract taken from Thai durians with a mass spectrometer and gas chromatograph. Interestingly, the team pinpointed 50 discrete compounds in the fruit responsible for its uncommon aroma. The compounds included eight that hadn’t been detected in durians before—and four compounds that had been completely unknown to science. As a result, the analysis suggests that it is not any single compound but instead the mixture of different chemicals that produces the fruit’s powerful stench.

You cannot take alcohol after Durian, and this is why.

Furthermore, according to another study done in 2009 by the Japanese, the durian strongly inhibitsthe enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); an enzyme that is used by the liver to break down alcohol. And that explained the wisdom from a traditional Asian folklore, that durian is contraindicated with alcohol. As it is possible that the liver has insufficient enzyme to break down the chemical from the alcohol after consuming durian, it is potentially getting intoxicated that can lead to death.

For those who love the durian though, there’s nothing quite like it. The downside to indulging in this fruit that many do not love however is the lingering smell. So how do you get rid of it naturally and effectively?

Use empty durian shells to wash your hands

Take a few empty durian shells and fill the hollows with water. A few back and forth scrapings with your finger in the water would enrich the compound content of the rinsing water, thereby improving the deodorising activity. Then use this water to wash your fingers and rinse your mouth. This is not a myth. It really works!

Researchers from the University of Indonesia discovered that the presence of 5-Hydroxy- methyl-furfural (5-HMF) in durian shells might act as a minor deodorant agent to counter the durian smell on our fingers. Their experiment shows that the chemical compound helps to neutralise the durian smell, which is largely due to amyl-mercaptan.

Chew on green tea leaves

Green tea has been associated with better-smelling breath, and in fact, it outperforms mints. Chew on some green tea leaves for 30 seconds, rinse your mouth with water and this will help to reduce the durian odour in your mouth. Drinking some green tea after durian is a good idea too.

Toilet paper in your fridge

One of the cheaper and environmentally-friendly ways to remove odour from the fridge is the humble toilet roll. It is thought that the porous toilet roll absorbs all smells, therefore making it the perfect combatant for the durian odour that may be lingering in your fridge. Best thing is, you always can re-use the toilet roll later on.

Use coffee grounds in your car

I think most people will agree that the durian smell that stays in the car doesn’t make for a pleasant drive! To expel the odour, one would usually resort to using a chemical deodoriser or air freshener. Synthetic air fresheners can be hazardous to your health though so using natural ingredients would be your best bet.

Coffee grounds has long been known to be an effective deodoriser. To clear up the air in your car, just put some (dry) coffee grounds in a container, cover it up with tissue and leave it until the smell disappears.


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