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

Radium glucegen1 at excite.com
Tue Jun 27 19:06:33 EST 2006

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.

What kinds of caproates and butyrates? Are you talking about caproic
acid and butryic acid? I doubt the "-ates" have odors of their own.

> 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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