Science & Environment

Perfume 'can be enhanced by sweating'

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A novel delivery system for perfume would ensure that a person smelled better the more they sweated, scientists have said.

Researchers from Queen's University Belfast isolated molecules that allow a fragrance to be released in response to moisture.

They say it is the first system of its kind that is triggered by the neutral water released when a person sweats.

The work has been published in the journal Chemical Communications.

The delivery system was created by tagging a raw fragrance onto an ionic liquid (salt in the form of liquid) which has no smell.

The resulting substance releases its aroma when it comes into contact with water, allowing more of the perfume's scent to be released onto a person's skin.

Co-author Nimal Gunaratne, from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (Quill), said the so-called "pro-fragrance" is like "a lead weight that means the [aroma] can't fly away", adding that the string connecting them was broken in the presence of water.

"Water is like the scissors," he told the BBC News website.

The perfume system also has the ability to remove the bad odours that come from sweat.

The sulphur-based "thiol" compounds that are responsible for the bad smell are attracted to the ionic liquid. When they attach themselves to it, they lose their potency.

The researchers say the discovery would have commercial possibilities, and are working with a company to identify product ideas based on their development.