2-Nonenal newly found in human body odor tends to increase with aging

J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Apr;116(4):520-4. doi: 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01287.x.


Human body odor consists of various kinds of odor components. Here, we have investigated the changes in body odor associated with aging. The body odor of subjects between the ages of 26 and 75 was analyzed by headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. 2-Nonenal, an unsaturated aldehyde with an unpleasant greasy and grassy odor, was detected only in older subjects (40 y or older). Furthermore, analysis of skin surface lipids revealed that omega7 unsaturated fatty acids and lipid peroxides also increased with aging and that there were positive correlations between the amount of 2-nonenal in body odor and the amount of omega7 unsaturated fatty acids or lipid peroxides in skin surface lipids. 2-Nonenal was generated only when omega7 unsaturated fatty acids were degraded by degradation tests in which some main components of skin surface lipids were oxidatively decomposed using lipid peroxides as initiator of an oxidative chain reaction. The results indicate that 2-nonenal is generated by the oxidative degradation of omega7 unsaturated fatty acids, and suggest that 2-nonenal may be involved in the age-related change of body odor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aldehydes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxides / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odorants*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Aldehydes
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • 2-nonenal