Chocolate Sniffing White Blood Cells

At the American Chemical Society conference in New Orleans today Peter Schieberle gave a report of his research in odor and aroma chemistry. In one of his experiments he placed white blood cells (WBCs) in one part of a container and components of chocolate in the other part (small volatile amides). What he found was that the WBCs, through the process of chemotaxis, would walk in the direction of these chocolate components.

The biological significance of this find is somewhat ambiguous. Would this actually happen in vivo? Would these volatile amides actually accumulate in the blood? Or do these amides compose structures found in bacteria and other pathogens. Or maybe WBCs just have a sweet tooth.


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