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What is Geosmin?


Geosmin is the name of the chemical that causes the musty dirt smell in water.  In fact, the human tongue is extremely sensitive to the geosmin molecule.  Geosmin comes from Greek and means "earth odor".

Geosmin is produced by microorganisms in the soil, and it is also made by blue-green algae when it dies.  Bottom feeding fish sometimes absorb the algae imparting an off-flavor to the fish.  This is also the reason some fish are best eaten with lemon.  The acid in the lemon neutralizes the musty flavor produced in fish when geosmin has been absorbed.  Blackened catfish is one example of a recipe that neutralizes the off-flavors of geosmin.



Is there anything useful about geosmin?


Geosmin is very useful - if you are a camel.  Studies indicate that camels may smell geosmin in an oasis that is miles away in a desert.  Camels smell geosmin in the wet ground and track it for miles to find water.  Then the camel disperses spores of microorganisms during its journey away from the oasis.


   The Good News Is.....

If you are not a camel,  Analytical Environmental Labs will test for geosmin in your water.  We will even provide containers to use to collect samples to test for this smelly chemical.  We currently do geosmin tests for individuals, municipalities, and companies all over the United States.  We can test your water and help determine why it has an unpleasant odor.

      We can help. Call 903 509-8700 or email


AEL can help your organization by providing fast & accurate results.  Whether you are receiving complaints for taste and odor from the public or trying to make sure your product is the best it can be before going out the door.  AEL can help.