Survive the zombie apocalypse with ‘Death Cologne’

Forget axes, shovels, and shotguns. With death cologne, conceived by a Nebraska chemist, you’ll smell so bad even a zombie will pass you by.

Zombie repellent isn't all that hard to make. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET
If there's one thing a zombie can't resist, it's the smell of nice, fresh, live human flesh. So what's a logical way to keep yourself safe when the zombie apocalypse comes (as we all know it will)? Make yourself smell like a corpse!

That's what the intrepid survivors did in the second episode of AMC's "The Walking Dead" when they smeared the guts of a dead "walker" on themselves and ventured out among the zombie hoard that had surrounded them. But that blood-and-guts thing is so messy, not to mention unsanitary. Fortunately the tireless researchers at the American Chemical Society have created a video as part of their "Reactions" series that proposes a much better solution: Death Cologne!

Conceived by chemist Raychelle Burks at Nebraska's Doane College, Death Cologne mimics the smell of rotting corpses to throw any would-be brain eaters off your trail. It makes use of two very aptly named chemicals that our bodies give off when they're decomposing -- putrescine and cadaverine -- mixed with a dash of methanethiol to give it a nice rotting-egg smell. According to Burks, these chemicals are so stinky that they are effective in parts per billion -- meaning "we won't have to make a whole lot to save a whole lot of people."

But where to get all these foul-smelling chemicals? E. coli bacteria, of course (as if things couldn't get any grosser). Burk says that a modified version of the little bugs could produce all three cadaverous chemicals "in one pot."

Who knew that surviving the zombie apocalypse could be as easy as spritzing yourself with a little "Eau de Death" in the morning? Better start brewing your batches now and stocking them up in your safe room. Do I see a Kickstarter campaign in the offing?

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