[NAFEX] Fruit fans create a stink over odourless durian
dtv at mwt.net
Thu Apr 12 13:25:14 EDT 2007
Fruit fans create a stink over odourless durian
By Jess Halliday
12/04/2007 - A scientist in Thailand has reported success in a
decades-long quest to produce an odourless variety of the infamous
durian fruit - but aficionados claim this amounts to removal of
fruit's most appealing quality.
The green, spiky durian fruit, native to South East Asia, is widely
thought to be the smelliest in the world. The odour it gives off when
ripe has been compared to garbage, dirty laundry and dead cats, and
is so pungent that it the fruit it banned in many hotels and some
Dr Songpol Somsri, senior agricultural scientist at the Horticulture
Research Institute of Thailand's Department of Agriculture, said this
week that through an extensive cross-breeding programme involving 90
varieties he has finally created a variety of the fruit with a smell
no more offensive than that of a banana.
According to the New York Times, the new fruit, dubbed Chantadubi
Number One after Dr Somsri's home town, is expected to obtain final
approval in the coming weeks from Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture.
While the innovation may persuade more people to try the durian -
both intrepid tourists and consumers in importing countries - so far
it has met with an unfavourable reaction from durian purists. They
say that smellier the durian the better its taste, and when you get
used to the smell it really isn't that bad.
What is more, in Asian markets the stronger the smell of the durian
the higher the price it commands.
Dr Somsri is reportedly continuing his research into the fruit,
striving to breed a spikeless variety and mapping the DNA so that he
may, one day, be able to identify the gene responsible for the smell.
Thailand is the world's biggest producer of the green spikey fruit.
The New York Times cited figures that Thailand last year sold about
50 million durians abroad, worth about $90 million.
The durian is best known for its distinctive smell, but it is also a
source of several beneficial nutrients and is reputed to be an
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