Durian, durian, durian! In case you missed it, it’s currently the durian season. Now Malaysians can be split into two distinctive groups, liking durian or absolutely LOATHING durian.
If you’re from the first group, onz! However, if you’re from the second group, idk, Singapore’s just a quick flight away. I mean, we get why it’s called the King of Fruits, the richness and how majestic the fruit is simply unbeatable.
Those who don’t like durian claim that the “smell is way too strong”. In fact, we were amused by the recent news where the smell of durian sent six German postal workers to the hospital and even made them evacuate a whole building. I think this meme represents our collective feeling of the situation.
But have you wondered why durians have such a strong smell? Is it a self-defence mechanism or is it something else?
Well, time to crack open your science books because there is a very scientific reason for it. However, since none of us are scientists, we’ll explain it in layman terms.
First of all, did you know that durian is most closely related to chocolate (specifically cacao) even though they look nothing alike.
According to Popular Science, cacao and durian share a similar gene sequence where you can notice both the fruits have a strong smell. What’s different is that the durian has duplicated the whole sequence of the cacao, in addition to its own.
To make it simpler, you have a 15-page assignment but you don’t feel it’s enough so you steal a friend’s assignment and photostat another 15 pages thus making your assignment 30 pages long. Geddit?
With the extra set of genome, the durian fruit was allowed to develop extra characteristics including its signature thorny skin and pungent smell. Durians stink because a lot of its genes are focused on pumping out odours.
It smells that way to mainly attract orangutans. They then eat the fruits and disperse the seeds.
A group of scientists from the German Research Center for Food Chemistry did research on this fruit and detected 50 compounds and realized that there were four compounds in it completely unknown to science.
Their analysis suggested that a mixture of chemicals produced the fruit’s smell. None of the compounds produced an exact smell but instead produced a wide range of smells including:
- roasted onion
- cooked beef
- dried squid
Well, at the end of the day, despite its strong smell, we can’t help but love this creamy goodness. Also to those who close their nose while eating the fruit, where’s the fun in that?
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