“Skunky” Cannabis: Environmental Odor Troubleshooting and the “Need-for-Speed”

Thumbnail Image
Vizuete, William
Wright, Donald W.
Iwasinska, Anna
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
American Chemical Society
Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

Dates of Existence

Historical Names

  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

Related Units

Organizational Unit
Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

Dates of Existence

Historical Names

  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

Related Units

Organizational Unit
Food Science and Human Nutrition

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at Iowa State University is jointly administered by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Human Science. FSHN combines the study and practical application of food sciences and technology with human nutrition in preparation for a variety of fields including: the culinary sciences, dietetics, nutrition, food industries, and diet and exercise.

The department was established in 1991 through the merging of the Department of Food Sciences and Technology (of the College of Agriculture), and the Department of Food and Nutrition (of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences).

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Although the “skunky” odor characteristic of cannabis has been widely referenced, its cause has been historically misassigned to unspecified “skunky terpenes”. Recent reports from two independent research groups, the Koziel team (March and April 2021) and Oswald team (August and November 2021), have corrected this misassignment by linking the “skunky” character of industrial hemp and cannabis to 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (321MBT). A recent USPTO patent application review clearly indicated that the Oswald team should take full credit for the discovery of this link with respect to cannabis. However, the August 19, 2021 publication of their patent application appears to be their formal public disclosure of 321MBT as the primary source odorant which is responsible for the targeted “skunky” odor. This date is well after the March and April 2021 public disclosures by the Koziel team for the 321MBT/“skunky” odor link relative to both cannabis and industrial hemp. This Viewpoint summarizes the investigative strategy leading to the public disclosure of this historically elusive link. It is presented from the perspective of the rapid multidimensional–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry–olfactometry (i.e., MDGC-MS-O) based odorant-prioritization “screening” approach, as applied by the Koziel team.
This article is published as Koziel, Jacek A., Alex Guenther, William Vizuete, Donald W. Wright, and Anna Iwasinska. “Skunky” Cannabis: Environmental Odor Troubleshooting and the “Need-for-Speed.” ACS Omega 7, no. 23 (2022): 19043–19047. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.2c00517. Copyright 2022 The Authors. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Posted with permission.