Tomato stems are filled with oil that smells like sweat. The oil contains terpenes - substances that give fruit and vegetables such as oranges, lemons and hops their smell and flavour, the researchers added.

Terpene-containing compounds may play a role in bad body odour. These are broken down by enzymes, producing chemicals that act on the antioxidant compound lycopene found in tomatoes.

"This, in turn, produces other chemicals known to contribute to how the body smells," explained Charles Stewart, a physician in Britain who himself went through body odour problem.

Cutting out tomatoes and good personal hygiene could eliminate need for deodorants, he noted in a paper published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

(Agencies)

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