Sea Smell (say that 5 times fast…)

As a follow-up to the Smelling Space post, I thought I’d alert you all to an article about the smell of the seaside coming out in Science magazine today. You can read the press release here, but for those that are too lazy I’ll give a brief summary.

Turns out the smell, which comes from dimethyl sulphide gas (DMS), is produced by microbes living near plankton and marine plants. Although researchers have known about DMS for a while, they didn’t know much about how it was produced. DMS plays an important role in cloud formation over oceans and acts as a homing scent for birds that feed on plankton. Researchers at the University of East Anglia collected bacteria from the North Norfolk coast and were able to identify and extract the gene responsible for the comforting smell.

This is great for science and all, but I’m thinking more practical. The next time I can’t get away from work for a well-deserved vacation, I’d love to just close my eyes and open up a little bottle filled with the scent of the sea.

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