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

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, 5:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, 7:21pm


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.

A spokesman said no decision had yet been made on whether they would commercialise their tear-free onions.

 The company’s researchers won the Ig Nobel Prize - an award handed out to honour achievements organisers consider unintentionally funny - in 2013 for their discovery of the biochemical process behind how onions make people blubber.