The chemical nature of the urinary odour produced by man after asparagus ingestion

Xenobiotica. 1987 Nov;17(11):1363-71. doi: 10.3109/00498258709047166.


1. The pungent urinary odour produced by certain individuals within a few hours of eating asparagus has been shown to be due to a combination of up to six sulphur-containing alkyl compounds identified as methanethiol, dimethyl sulphide, dimethyl disulphide, bis-(methylthio)methane, dimethyl sulphoxide and dimethyl sulphone. 2. The possible roles of S-methylmethionine and asparagusic acid as precursors of these odorous substances are discussed in relation to the known chemistry of the vegetable.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odorants / analysis*
  • Sulfur / urine
  • Urine / analysis*
  • Vegetables*


  • Sulfur