The Digestion Of The Chemical Compound Essay

The Digestion Of The Chemical Compound Essay

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For over two thousand years, people have been cultivating and consuming Asparagus officinalis. During this time some people have observed a peculiar manifestation of an odd odor in their urine shortly after ingesting this vegetable (Mitchel and Waring 2014). This particular stench has been described as smelling like boiled cabbage (Mitchel et al. 1987, Pelchat et al. 2011). Many experiments have contributed this smell to sulfurous molecules found in the urine after asparagus ingestion, the most common molecules found being methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide (Lison et al. 1980, McDonald 2011, Mitchel et al. 1987, Mitchel and Waring 2014, Pelchat et al. 2011). It is thought that the digestion of the chemical compound 1, 2-dithiolane-4-carboxylic acid and its derivatives are responsible for breaking down into the aforementioned sulfurous molecules during digestion. This chemical compound’s common name is Asparagusic acid and is exclusively found in asparagus (Mitchel and Waring 2014). In experiments performed by Waring et al., asparagus was fed to volunteers, then their urine was collected and tested for what chemical compounds were present. After testing the asparagus urine, they then gave each volunteer asparagusic acid and collected more urine for testing. The results of these experiments found that in both cases for the known odor producing volunteers, the characteristic odor was present along with the sulfurous chemical compounds suggesting that asparagusic acid is a precursor to the odor created after asparagus ingestion (Waring et al. 1987, as cited in Mitchel and Waring 2014).
This odor has created a stir in the scientific community because what was thought to be a common odor known to everyone turned out to be not so true....

... middle of paper ... of the samples could have had ample amounts of the sulfur molecules while other samples could have had lesser amounts making it either easier or more difficult for the different subject’s to perceive the odor. Much like the experiment conducted by Lison et al. in 1980 this experiment really just proved that at varying concentrations different people can smell the odor. It did not present clear cut data that proved whether there really are “smellers” and “nonsmellers.” Doing an experiment that would use specific amounts of the common sulfurous compounds found in the urine after asparagus ingestion with known dilutions and having volunteers determine whether or not they could smell the specific odor would help to actually prove if there is a distinction between “smellers” and “nonsmellers” or just variations between different individual’s sensitivities to the smell.

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