[Microbiology] Re: Do any bad-smelling compounds result from anoxic bacterial decomposition of ethanol?

maneesh maneesh at drunkenbastards.com
Tue Jun 27 16:21:22 EST 2006

I remeber reading that the smell of rotten milk is lactic acid from

I can smell the iodiny smell of iodobenzene (b.p.: 188 C).  I've
smelled peptides with cystiene.  I synthesized a selenocysitene peptide
(33 mer, so lots of washes in there), that would leave a fishy small on
my fingers if I held the eppendorf tube it was in.

Now I don't think I am actually smelling the peptide or molecule, but
byproducts like I2, SH2 and elemental selenium....(?)

I guess it surprises me how sensitive my nose is and just how much
degradation is going, when you can barely see any of it by common
analytic techniques (mass spec, HPLC, NMR etc.).

Just felt like saying that.

biovirus04 at gmail.com wrote:
> Radium wrote:
> > What odorous chemicals do anaerobic bacteria [excluding the
> > acetic-acid-producing bacteria] produce when they feed on ethanol in an
> > oxygen-free environment? What do these compounds' odors resemble?
> You aren't going to find many bacteria that break down EtOH, let alone
> in an oxygen-free environment.  EtOH, in high enough concentrations, is
> extremely toxic.  That's why I clean off my lab bench with 70% EtOH.
> However, there is an organism called Clostridium kluyveri that breaks
> down EtOH anaerobically.  It's the only one I know of that can break
> down EtOH, but I'm no expert on metabolism.  The reaction that it
> carries out is:
>      EtOH + Acetate + CO2  -->  Caproate + Butyrate + H2
> Caproate smells like goats.  Butyrate smells like vomit.
> Since you have an interest in metabolism, you should look into reading
> Brock Biology of Microorganisms.  They're now up to the 11th ed.  The
> authors (whom I know personally) do a great job of covering metabolic
> diversity.

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