What Makes the Durian Such a Smelly Fruit?

Grown in tropical countries across Southeast Asia, durian is a fruit that has been described as “hell on the outside, and heaven on the inside.” The smell of one of these spiky, melon-like orbs has been compared to rotting onions mixed with turpentine, or even raw sewage, but it’s the fruit’s sweet and creamy center that has earned the potent fruit a loyal following. Now, researchers at the National Cancer Centre in Singapore have sequenced the genome of the durian to find out why it smells so bad. They discovered a class of genes called methionine gamma-lyase (MGLs), which are associated with volatile and foul-smelling sulfur compounds.

Smells bad, tastes good:

  • In analyzing a durian variety called Musang King, scientists found a complex plant with nearly 46,000 genes -- about twice the number found in humans.

  • Also called “the king of fruit,” the durian shares an evolutionary ancestor with cacao, which is used to make chocolate.

  • Durian smells so bad that it is not permitted on buses, trains, or hotels in Singapore, although China imports $600 million USD worth of the stinky fruit every year.

Follow wiseGEEK:

More Info: CNN

Discuss this Article

Post 1

Tastes great, but I would rather be downwind of a pig farm on a hot day.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?



Free Widgets for your Site/Blog

The U.S. pays Cuba $4,085 a year to lease Guantanamo Bay, but Cuba has not cashed any of the checks since 1959.   more...
June 26 ,  1963 :  U.S. President Kennedy declared, "Ich bin ein Berli  more...