organism odors ( was re: Ecoli?)

K N and P J Harris ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk
Tue Oct 24 16:38:24 EST 1995

Smelly soils
Hi michael - try this for size. Fungi smell mouldy (moldy) and acid 
soils contain a high proportion of fungi. However, neutral soils have a 
goodly proportion of streptomycetes and these (or some of them) can 
produce geosmin, a volatile compound that SMELLS of soil - is indeed the 
reason why fresh soil smells the way it does. A little party trick on 
field courses is to get students to guess the pH of a soil from its 
smell. Now - geosmin is not so difficult to pick up by GLC - how about a 
project that ranks soils by pH and geosmin production ?
Peter Harris.

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