Durian fruit is not well known in the United States, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
June 20 2015

Durian is a fruit that grows in Southeast Asia and has strong odor that at first makes one believe that the fruit is not tasty, but after one bite it surprises the taster.

Durian fruit helps lower cholesterol
The nutritional and metabolic indices in rats fed cholesterol-containing diets supplemented with durian at different stages of ripening.
Biofactors. 2007. Leontowicz M, Leontowicz H, Jastrzebski Z, Haruenkit R, Poovarodom S, Katrich E, Tashma Z, Drzewiecki J, Trakhtenberg S, Gorinstein S. Department of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw Agricultural University, Warsaw, Poland.
The aim of this investigation was to assess the nutritional and health properties of Mon Thong durian cultivar at different stages of ripening. The assessment was carried out in vitro and in vivo. The contents of dietary fibers, minerals and trace metals at different stages of ripening were comparable. Total polyphenols and flavonoids in ripe durian were significantly higher than in mature and overripe. Antioxidant capacity in total polyphenol extracts of ripe durian were significantly higher than that of mature and overripe samples. Then 35 male Wistar rats were divided into 5 dietary groups each of 7 and named Control, Chol, Chol/Mature, Chol/Ripe and Chol/Overripe. During 30 days of the experiment the rats of all 5 groups were fed basal diet (BD), which included wheat starch, casein, soybean oil, vitamin and mineral mixtures. The rats of the Control group were fed a BD only. To the BD of the Chol group was added 1% of cholesterol. The BD of the Chol/Mature, Chol/Ripe and Chol/Overripe groups was supplemented with 1% of cholesterol and 5% of the mature, ripe and overripe durian as freeze-dried powder, respectively. Diets containing ripe and to a lesser degree mature and overripe durian significantly hindered the rise in plasma lipids and also hindered a decrease in plasma antioxidant activity. Ripe durian contains higher quantity of bioactive compounds, has higher antioxidant capacity and nutritional value. It positively affects the plasma lipid profile, the plasma glucose and the antioxidant activity in rats fed cholesterol enriched diets. Therefore, the ripe durian supplemented diet could be beneficial for patient suffering from hypercholesterolemia and diabetes mellitus.

Why does durian fruit smell?
J Agric Food Chem. 2012. Characterization of the major odor-active compounds in Thai durian ( Durio zibethinus L. 'Monthong') by aroma extract dilution analysis and headspace gas chromatography-olfactometry. An aroma extract dilution analysis applied on the volatile fraction isolated from Thai durian by solvent extraction and solvent-assisted flavor evaporation resulted in 44 odor-active compounds in the flavor dilution (FD) factor range of 1-16384, 41 of which could be identified and 24 that had not been reported in durian before. High FD factors were found for ethyl (2S)-2-methylbutanoate (fruity; FD 16384), ethyl cinnamate (honey; FD 4096), and 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion; FD 1024), followed by 1-(ethyldisulfanyl)-1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane (sulfury, onion), 2(5)-ethyl-4-hydroxy-5(2)-methylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel), 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one (soup seasoning), ethyl 2-methylpropanoate (fruity), ethyl butanoate (fruity), 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol (skunky), ethane-1,1-dithiol (sulfury, durian), 1-(methylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion), 1-(ethylsulfanyl)propane-1-thiol (roasted onion), and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel). Among the highly volatile compounds screened by static headspace gas chromatography-olfactometry, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg), acetaldehyde (fresh, fruity), methanethiol (rotten, cabbage), ethanethiol (rotten, onion), and propane-1-thiol (rotten, durian) were found as additional potent odor-active compounds. Fourteen of the 41 characterized durian odorants showed an alkane-1,1-dithiol, 1-(alkylsulfanyl)alkane-1-thiol, or 1,1-bis(alkylsulfanyl)alkane structure derived from acetaldehyde, propanal, hydrogen sulfide, and alkane-1-thiols. Among these, 1-(propylsulfanyl)ethanethiol, 1-{[1-(methylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol, and 1-{[1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol were reported for the first time in a natural product.