Molecule of the Week

Methanethiol

December 10, 2007

Bad breath? Blame methanethiol (aka methyl mercaptan). The compound, which has a rotten cabbage odor, is a major component of odoriferous bodily emanations. However, it also exists within animal blood and tissue, as well as in nuts and cheeses. Furthermore, methanethiol occurs naturally in some coal and petroleum deposits. Industrially, it is produced during paper making (giving paper mills their characteristic odor). Manufacturers also use this compound in producing plastics and pesticides.