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Onions Won’t Make You Cry Any More, Thanks to Japanese Scientists

Company that “won” spoof science prize two years ago for discovering what makes us cry when we chop up staple vegetable has pioneered one that won’t bring tears to the eyes.

Onions are a building block of so many dishes—stockssoupsstir-fries—not to mention vital as a burger topping. The downsides to onions, though, are well-documented: Namely, they make you cry and turn your breath into something dangerous.


The sobbing of a chef as she chops onions in the kitchen could be a thing of the past thanks to one Japanese company, which says it has produced a tear-free vegetable.

Scientists say they have managed to disable the production of a powerful substance an onion releases as the knife slices into it, cutting down on the pungent fumes that bring tears to the eyes.

House Foods Group said in a press release that its scientists bombarded the brown bulb with irradiating ions in a process that drastically reduces the level of a certain enzyme that is key to this process.

Apparently, scientists had assumed for many years that the chemical Propanethial-s-oxide was responsible for the tears,explained Scicurious, a postdoc in biomedical research.

“Scientists knew that an enzyme called alliinase breaks down the chemical PRENCSO to pyruvic acid. They thought that it just spontaneously went from there to the tear-jerking Propanethial-s-oxide.”

Interestingly, garlic also contains alliinase. But this equally strong condiment doesn’t make people cry when they cut it. Hence, the Japanese team suspected something else was at play, continued Scicurious.

“They added alliinase specifically to PRENCSO… and got NO


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