The Wednesday Post (17/11/2010)

Staying with the non-diseasey theme…

Love intestines, but hate the smell of poop? Add coriander!

People eat some strange things. Pigs’ large intestines in the form of the soul food “chitterlings” is one of them. Unsurprisingly the cooking of faeces-containing organs releases quite an unpleasant odour. I guess this is why herbs and spices are so valued. A recent study by a Japanese group have found the a compound in coriander that neutralises the smell of boiling poop.

Strange foods at a Taiwanese night market stall, including ducks' tongues, pig's blood and beef tripe (Picture taken by Thomas Tu)

The group split up coriander extracts into fractions and added them to warm pig intestines. They then assembled a sniffing panel of 10 people, each of whom rated the deodorising effect of the extracts out of 5. Then they repeated the experiment by fractioning the most deodorising fraction. They continued this until they ended up with a single chemical: (E,E)-2,4-undecadienal.

The authors didn’t say how the compound deodorised the poop smell, only that it did. Looking further into this, I found no chitterlings recipes that calls for the addition of coriander. I don’t know why this is.This goes to show that though it is an art, cooking can be improved with science.

P.S. Yes, there are diseases associated with eating pig intestines: Yersinia enterocolitica (a cousin of the cause of bubonic plague) is a common bacterium in pig faeces that can cause severe diarrhoea, particularly in infants. People preparing chitterlings should boil them for 5 minutes before further cooking them. Also, they shouldn’t put their poopy fingers into their children’s mouths.

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Ikeura H, Kohara K, Li XX, Kobayashi F, & Hayata Y (2010). Identification of (E,E)-2,4-Undecadienal from Coriander ( Coriandrum sativum L.) as a Highly Effective Deodorant Compound against the Offensive Odor of Porcine Large Intestine. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry PMID: 20923150



Filed under Thomas' Corner

5 responses to “The Wednesday Post (17/11/2010)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Wednesday Post (17/11/2010) | Disease of the Week! --

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  3. Yuk. My problem with eating intestines is that they’re way too chewy. I tried some deep-fried pig intestine slices at a Taiwanese restaurant a while ago and simply couldn’t bite them.

    Btw Y. enterocolitica is sometimes used as a stand-in for pestis in experiments…because you don’t need to have a background check and cavity search and inventory of everything including the kitchen sink in your lab by the CDC and FBI and whatnot in order to work with it.

  4. Sniffing panel? Those poor people.

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