Excellent news this morning! Our brand new blog, launched by yours truly and Jenny Slaughter, over at http://chempics.wordpress.com, has been mentioned on the Nature Chemistry Blogroll for Everyday Chemistry.
Do you go wild over your garlic and smile through your tears when chopping onions? Members of the allium family, such as onion, garlic and chives, have long been used around the world to add flavour and vitamins to food, despite the next day’s “garlic breath”, but additional medicinal properties have been much harder to prove.
1. The picture above shows onion and garlic bulbs together with some chives on a petri dish; you can also see the bottom of a measuring cylinder with some allium flower stalks and a volumetric flask in the background. While the petri dish is more often used in biological and biochemical labs, both measuring cylinders and volumetric flasks are key to chemical experiments involving liquids and solutions. On the left hand side is the structure of a molecule common to all members of the allium family, called alliin, which can be converted to the…
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Forget oranges and lemons… If you are looking for high doses of Vitamin C and other useful vitamins and minerals, together with antimicrobial and antifungal agents, the chilli fruit packs a punch. And one of its key ingredients is strong enough even to keep bears and elephants away.
1. In the main image for this article you can see one of the most common pieces of laboratory glassware, a beaker, filled with a selection of chillis bought in a UK supermarket. Next to it is a representation of the molecule capsaicin, which is one of the main components giving you a sensation of spicy heat when you eat a chilli. Interestingly, while mammals experience a strong, and sometimes even painful sensation of heat, birds are unlikely to feel the same, because their physiology is different and they cannot taste chilli heat. Different species of chilli, which have evolved in isolation…
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