MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: stainless steel removes odors?

Date: Sat Apr 13 09:11:53 2002
Posted By: Bob Gibilisco, Staff, Process Engineering, Retired
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 1006745888.Bc

I did some research and discussed this issue with an expert in the field 
and cannot offer an explanation for this reaction. So, I conducted a 
little experiment:

1. I cut open an onion with a stainless steel kitchen knife and smelled 
the knife. The onion odor was present on the knife.
2. Rubbed the onion on my hand, applied the knife and the odor was removed.
3. Rubbed the onion on my hand and rinsed with water and the odor was 

The test results are inconclusive. 

Onion contains compounds of Sulfur which is added to stainless steel to 
render free machining properties. Onion changes color when it reacts with 
acid and can be used as a kitchen pH indicator. Skin protien does not 
react with stainless steel. 
None of these facts gives a clue to why the odor is removed with stainless 

Sorry but I cannot offer an explanation.

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