Morale: Synthetic Plankton Farts

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February7, 2007: Good news for retired sailors, who were unable to obtain a retirement home by the sea. Scientists have isolated the key element used to produce that bracing "smell of the sea." The element is dimethyl sulphide, and it is produced in huge quantities by small organisms living in the ocean, and seaside marshes. Basically, it's the result of massive plankton farts. The smell of the sea has long been considered "bracing," but actually confers no beneficial effect. Too much dimethyl sulphide can make you sick. However, makers of scents can now add "smell of the sea" to "new car smell" and many other sprays and air conditioning additives that have become a big business. There's even "aroma therapy." And now there's something for old salts. The largest producer of dimethyl sulphide (for use in oil refineries) is a plant just north of New Orleans, Louisiana.

 


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