The research was led by Dr Michelle Rudden and Professor Gavin Thomas from the University of York’s Department of Biology, along with other team members, in collaboration with Unilever.
They studied the role of body odour (BO) in human behaviour and evolution, which is still not fully understood. The research focused on the presence of certain species of commensal microbes that are linked to body odour.
The team discovered a unique bacterial enzyme, found only in odour-forming staphylococci, that can break down odourless precursors of thioalcohols, the most pungent components of body odour.
The research was conducted in the field of microbiology and biochemistry, with a collaboration between academic researchers from the University of York and scientists from the consumer goods company, Unilever.