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The odor of Geosmin is best described as the smell of the air after rain falls on dry soil. Geosmin is responsible for the muddy smell in many commercially important freshwater fish. Geosmin combines with 2-methylisoborneol (MIB).
Human’s can smell concentrations as low as 10 parts per trillion of Geosmin in water. The characteristic odor of soil was first investigated by Berthelot in 1891. In 1965 the structure of the responsible compound geosmin was determined by Gerber. It was not until 1981 that the pathways for the biosynthesis of these compounds determined.*