Eye irritation can, therefore, be avoided by cutting onions under running water or submerged in a basin of water. Rinsing the onion and leaving it wet while chopping mayalso be effective. Another way to reduce irritation is by chilling, or by not cutting off theroot of the onion (or by doing it last), as the root of the onion has a higher concentrationof enzymes.
Using a sharp blade to chop onions will limit the cell damage and therelease of enzymes that drive the irritation response. Chilling or freezing onions preventsthe enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated. Eye irritation may be
avoided by having a fan blow the gas away from the eyes as the onion is being cut. Theamount of sulfenic acids and LF released, and the irritation effect, differs among
species. On January 31, 2008, the New ZealandCrop and Food institute created a strainof "no tears" onions by using gene-silencing biotechnologyto prevent synthesis by the
onions of the lachyrmatory factor synthase enzyme.