How Coffee Aroma Relates to Skunk Stench

animals, Food
Curiously, the aroma chemicals in coffee closely resemble the stench-producing chemicals in the abominable skunk spray! They are similar, but they are not identical, and they do not occur in proportionate quantities. Skunk Stench The chemicals that primarily give skunk spray its stench are thiol derivatives—in particular, derivatives of the sulfur alcohol n-butyl mercaptan (CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2-SH). The portion of this compound responsible for its smell is the -SH group, a sulfur atom bonded to a hydrogen atom, which is similar to the -OH or alcohol group. Common derivatives modify the carbon chain. Another variation chemically modifies the -SH group, using acetic acid (CH3-COOH) to form the corresponding thioacetate. Two of the most odoriferous skunk spray mercaptans are (E)-2-buten-1-thiol and 3-methyl-butanethiol. Other than its prevalence (it makes up approximately 2/5 of skunk…
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