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Strange but true: Getting ahead of the rest

Updated: 2015-04-16 16:06

Scientists create onion that won't make you cry

Strange but true: Getting ahead of the rest

A Japanese company has produced the world's first 'tear-free' onion. [Photo/IC]

Japanese company House Foods Group claims to have produced the world's first "tear-free"onion, by disabling compounds the vegetable releases when chopped.

In a paper published in 2002 scientists hypothesized that it would be possible to weaken the tear-inducing enzymes while maintaining the onion's flavor and nutritional value. The paper also won the researchers an Ig Nobel Prize – an award honoring achievements organizers consider unintentionally funny.

The company has turned the theory into a reality by bombarding onion bulbs with irradiating ions which causes them to produce low amounts of enzymes. Apart from creating a completely tear-free chopping experience, the technique also makes the vegetable less pungent. All 20 employees of House Foods have apparently tested the altered onions themselves and confirmed the complete absence of tanginess.

However, the announcement that the company has no plans to produce them commercially anytime soon is sure to bring tears to the eyes of chefs and housewives around the world.


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