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榴莲为什么这么“臭”?未来或可培育无味榴莲

 由新加坡、马来西亚和中国香港的科学家组成的研究小组近日发现,榴莲的基因中含有一种易挥发的硫化合物,这是导致其气味重的主要原因。这一发现意味着未来可能培育出“无味”榴莲。不过,榴莲爱好者们表示,“没有气味的榴莲就像没有灵魂的人体一样,只是一具空壳”。

 

榴莲为什么这么“臭”?未来或可培育无味榴莲
credit: Dr. Kevin Lim

 

One of nature's smelliest secrets may have been revealed, thanks to a dedicated team of durian-loving scientists in Singapore.
新加坡一组喜爱榴莲的科学家潜心研究,揭开了大自然中一种最难闻气味的奥秘。

Researchers have found an odour gene which gives the thorny fruit its notoriously pungent scent.
研究人员发现,一种气味基因让榴莲这种多刺水果散发出大家都知道的那种难闻气味。

The discovery meant the possibility of creating "odourless or milder-tasting" fruits in future, the scientists said.
科学家们表示,这一发现意味着将来有可能培育出“无气味或口味较淡”的榴莲。

It has sparked mixed feelings from durian aficionados, who worship its signature rank smell.
榴莲爱好者对此反应不一,榴莲标志性的难闻气味正是他们所推崇的。

"A durian without its smell is nothing but an empty shell with no essence," wrote Singaporean Richie Liang on Facebook, who also compared "a durian without its unique smell" to "a human being who has lost his or her soul".
新加坡人里奇•梁在脸书上写道:“丧失气味的榴莲将只是一个没有精华的空壳。”他还把“失去独特气味的榴莲”比作“失去灵魂的人”。

After three years of research, privately funded by a group of anonymous durian lovers, the five-man team of cancer scientists now have a complete genetic map of the fruit, a world first.
该研究项目由一些匿名的榴莲爱好者资助。五名癌症科学家在三年研究后绘制出了完整的榴莲基因图谱,属世界首创。

Their findings were published in academic journal Nature Genetics.
研究结果发表在《自然•遗传学》学术期刊上。

"Our analysis revealed that volatile sulphur production is turbocharged in durians, which fits with many people's opinions that durian smell has a 'sulphury' aspect," said geneticist Patrick Tan, who co-led the study.
研究负责人、遗传学家帕特里克•陈说:“我们的分析显示,在榴莲里,易挥发的硫的生成过程得到增强,这与许多人认为榴莲有一股‘硫黄’味儿的看法不谋而合。”

The researchers said the durian's distinctive odour served an important purpose to it in the wild: helping to attract animals to eat it and disperse its seeds.
研究人员称,榴莲的独特气味在野生环境中有着重要用途:吸引动物将它吃掉,然后把它的种子传播出去。

The fruit is loved and loathed in equal measure. Eating durian is banned in many outdoor spaces throughout Singapore and carrying it is prohibited on public transport because of its smell.
对榴莲,有人喜爱也有人厌烦。新加坡的很多室外场所禁止吃榴莲,由于其难闻的气味,乘坐公共交通工具时也禁止携带榴莲。

But its fans remain fiercely protective over retaining its controversial scent.
但榴莲的爱好者们仍然强烈呼吁保留这种有人爱也有人恨的气味。

"What's durian if it's odourless and tasteless? Yuck," said Manfred Man, adding that he would "never mess with nature".
曼弗雷德•曼恩说:“如果榴莲闻起来吃起来都没味道,那还是榴莲吗?”他补充说自己“永远不会破坏自然规律”。

Jason Lim saw the potential in the durian discovery and shared his hope for new hybrid signature smells. "I wish someone would create avocado with durian smell. Durian fans will know what I am talking about."
詹森•林看到了这一发现的前景,期待有新的混合气味出现:“我希望有人种出有榴莲气味的牛油果。榴莲爱好者们会知道我在说什么。”

Odours aside, the durian's ancestry was also revealed, believed to be dating back an estimated 65 million years to the cacao plant.
除了气味,研究人员还揭示了榴莲的祖先,据称它可追溯到大约6500万年前的可可植物。

Zachary Tay hilariously summed up this revelation: "So we're basically eating chocolate."
扎卡里•泰幽默地总结说:“所以我们吃的其实是巧克力。”

英文来源:BBC
翻译&编审:yaning

 
 

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