MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: What cause the strong odor in human urine?

Date: Tue Apr 10 09:44:36 2001
Posted By: Lillian Mundt, Faculty, Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 986160014.Gb

Normally, urine has a mild aromatic odor. How strong is dependent on the concentration of urea in the urine. First morning urines are the most concentrated. Urine in a container acquires a pungent odor as the urea breaks down to ammonia due to bacterial action. Various abnormalities contribute to the strong odors which urine can have.

Condition	           Odor	         Constituent
Normal	                   aromatic      urea
Bacterial action           pungent       ammonia
Bacterial infection        foul	         ammonia
Diabetes  	           fruity	ketones (acetone)
Maple Syrup Urine Disease  maple syrup	aminoacids
Phenylketonuria	mousy /    musty	phenylalanine
Hypermethioninemia	   fishy / rancid butter	?
?                          sweaty feet	butyric or hexanoic acid
Some medication and also eating foods with strong odors, such as garlic and asparagus, contributes those odors to the urine as well.

Bauer, Ackermann, Toro, Clinical Laboratory Methods 8th ed., Mosby 1974 Graff, A Handbook of Routine Urinalysis, Lippincott1983

(newer texts don't even bother to mention odor)

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