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Sobbing in the kitchen? Japan company makes tear-free onions

Scientists say they have managed to disable the production of a powerful substance an onion releases as the knife slices into it

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The sobbing of a chef as he 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 they 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 commercialize their tear-free onions.

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