Cilantro ingredient can remove foul odor of 'chitlins'

Nov 14, 2010

With chitlins about to make their annual appearance on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day menus, scientists have good news for millions of people who love that delicacy of down-home southern cooking, but hate the smell. They are reporting the first identification of an ingredient in cilantro that quashes the notoriously foul odor of chitlins — a smell known to drive people from the house when chitlins are cooking. Their report appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Yasuyoshi Hayata and colleagues note that chitlins — hog large intestines — are infamous for their foul smell, which is reminiscent of the waste material that once filled the intestine. However, many people enjoy the taste of the southern delicacy. When boiled or fried, chitlins are most popular in the United States during the winter holidays, from to New Year's Day. However, hog large intestine also is a year-round staple in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.

Hayata's group knew that cooks long have used fresh cilantro, an herb also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, to mask the unpleasant smell of certain foods, as well as add flavor. They previously showed that cilantro could help to remove the fecal or sewage-like odor from chitlins. In the new research, they set out to discover the identity of the deodorizing chemical compounds in cilantro.

The scientists treated samples of hog large intestine with cilantro extracts of different concentrations. A panel of human sniffers identified the concentrations that were most effective in reducing the odor. Using high-tech instruments, the scientists then isolated the main deodorizing ingredients in the most effective extracts. The scientists identified several cilantro ingredients that appeared to suppress the foul odor of chitlins. One of the substances with the tongue-twisting name of (E,E)-2,4-Undecadienal had a flowery fragrance that seemed to completely erase the odor. That substance worked at concentrations as low as 10 parts per billion — an equivalent to about 10 drops of substance in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Explore further: Bodies at sea: Ocean oxygen levels may impact scavenger response

More information: "Identification of (E, E)-2,4-Undecadienal from Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) as a Highly Effective Deodorant Compound against the Offensive Odor of Porcine Large Intestine", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Small particles show big promise in beating unpleasant odors

Oct 27, 2010

Scientists are reporting development of a new approach for dealing with offensive household and other odors -- one that doesn't simply mask odors like today's room fresheners, but eliminates them at the source. Their research ...

Wake up and smell the sweat

Nov 21, 2007

Some people are oblivious to the odor in the locker room after a game, while others wrinkle their noses at the slightest whiff of sweat. Research by Prof. Doron Lancet and research student Idan Menashe of the Molecular Genetics ...

Researchers find the smell of metal can be deceiving

Nov 08, 2006

In the process of conducting research on iron plumbing infrastructure and drinking water quality, two Virginia Tech researchers in the College of Engineering uncovered that the smell of iron when you touch metal is really ...

Recommended for you

New feather findings get scientists in a flap

Oct 22, 2014

Scientists from the University of Southampton have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fibre, which allows the feather to bend and twist to ...

Lupin bread rises to the quality challenge

Oct 20, 2014

Sweet lupins are shaping up to be a viable and nutritious element in wheat breads and cereals with recent research suggesting certain varieties produce bread with desirable volume, texture and crumb cell ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Eric_B
5 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2010
"Cilantro ingredient can remove foul odor of 'chitlins'"

I don't GIVE A SH1T! I still ain't eatin' 'em!