Seeking asparagus info

Mike Cherry cherry at stout.Stanford.EDU
Mon Mar 7 23:32:21 EST 1994

In article <2ldrhe$6g0 at>,
La Monte Yarroll <piggy at> wrote:
>There is something in aparagus which causes a specific odour in urine
>in certain individuals.  Does anybody know what this substance is?

The odoriferous component is believed to be methanethiol. It is a
metabolite from something in asparagus. Apparently everyone makes this
compound, but not everyone can detect its odor. That is some people
cannot smell methanethiol in concentrations present in urine.

Lison, M.; Blondheim, S. H. and Melmed, R. N.: A polymorphism of the
ability to smell urinary metabolites of asparagus. Brit. Med. J. 281:
1676-1678, 1980.

The above info was obtained from OMIM.

J. Michael Cherry                       Internet: cherry at
Project Manager                         Saccharomyces Genome Database
Stanford DNA Sequence & Tech. Center    Department of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine  Stanford, CA 94305-5120

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