While today’s consumers demand all natural products, in the case of perfume, synthetics might prove to be the greener choice

In a coastal jungle in northern Madagascar, biologist Fanny Rakotoarivelo places a plastic bubble over a branch of papaya flowers. Inside, air currents run through the flowers, sucking out essential oils. The scented air that remains is funneled into another bag, which Rakotoarivelo places inside a metal briefcase. It will be flown and delivered to the German headquarters of Symrise, the second largest flavors and fragrances company in the world, where scientists will attempt to recreate the scent.

The mechanism Rakotoarivelo uses is, rather poetically, called a headspace. For the last thirty years, it has allowed scientists to recreate nature in a bottle, often in a far more environmentally friendly manner than tapping the real thing, according to a 2013 study by watchdog conservation organization ETC Group.

Related: Madagascar: the country that’s poor but not poor enough for aid

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Source: Guardian Environment