Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO or TMANO) is a naturally occurring osmolyte that occurs in saltwater fish, sharks and rays, molluscs, and crustaceans. They use this osmolyte, along with free amino acids, to reduce the 3% saltiness of seawater to the desirable 1% of dissolved solids inside cells. TMAO decomposes to trimethylamine which is the main odor molecule giving rise to the characteristic fishy smell.
- Zou, Q.; et al. (2002). "The Molecular Mechanism of Stabilization of Proteins by TMAO and Its Ability to Counteract the Effects of Urea". Journal of American Chemical Society. 124 (7): 1192.
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