Here comes a bug to make your perfume smell nicer

November 1st, 2008 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 1 (IANS) A bug in a tropical grass root that provides oil to cosmetic and perfumery industries also imparts a variety of flavours and properties to the plant product, according to a new study.Vetiver grass is the only grass cultivated for its root essential oil, made up of chemicals called sesquiterpenes. These are used in plants as pheromones and juvenile hormones.

Studying the root, microbiologists Pietro Alifano and Luigi Del Giudice, plant biologist Massimo Maffei and their colleagues found that its root cells produce a few oil precursors, which are then metabolised by the root bacteria to build up the complexity of vetiver oil, according to an Eurekalert report.

“This research opens new frontiers in the biotech arena of natural bioactive compounds,” said Alifano. “Pharmaceutical, perfumery and flavouring industries may now exploit the selected microbial strains and widen their metabolic libraries.”

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