Women smell of onions while men are more likely to whiff of cheese, says scientists after “sniffing” both sexes’ armpits.
The bizarre research, which investigated the distinctive armpit odours of men and women, was conducted by scientists at Firmenich, a company in Geneva that researches flavours and smells for the food and perfume industry.
To reach the conclusion, researchers took samples of armpit sweat from 24 men and 25 women after they had spent time in a sauna or 15 minutes on an exercise bike, reports the Telegraph.
After the analyses, team found those from women contained high amounts of an odourless sulphur-containing compound, according to New Scientist magazine.
When this mixed with bacteria usually found under the arm, it was transformed into a chemical called thiol, well known for its onion-like smell.
In men, scientists found high levels of an odourless fatty acid which released a cheesy smell when exposed to enzymes produced by bacteria in the armpits.
Christian Starkenmann, who led the study, said: “Men smell of cheese, and women of grapefruit or onion.”
A team of independent testers recruited by the scientists also found the smell from women’s armpits was more unpleasant.
Professor Tim Jacob, who researches the science of smell at Cardiff University, said: “Other factors include what you eat, what you wash with, what you wear and what genes you inherit.”