The latest in the ‘Everyday Compounds’ series looks at hydrogen peroxide: its use in hair dyes, glow sticks, and stain removers, as well as why it foams when it comes into contact with cuts.

Read more: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-yC

It’s #InternationalCoffeeDay today! Learn a little about the chemical compounds that give coffee its bitter taste with this older graphic from the site: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-48

jubular asked:
Hey, I saw your recent post about common painkillers and noticed that you listed Tramadol as a synthetic painkiller- did you know that while it was first discovered in the lab (and the medications are all synthetic), it was recently found to occur naturally in a southern-African tree? I just thought that was really cool, that we discovered a naturally-occuring chemical before we even knew it was out there!

Tramadol was indeed discovered in the roots of the African Peach Tree by scientists back in 2013, and found to be over 1% of the dry content of the root. Here’s the Chemistry World article on that initial discovery.

That’s not where the story ends though! Researchers in Germany and Cameroon re-tested the samples from the original research, against samples they obtained, and found that in the samples taken in some parts of Cameroon did contain tramadol (though only around 0.00015%), whilst those from southern Cameroon contained no tramadol at all.

The new group theorised that tramadol, readily and cheaply available from markets in northern Cameroon, was being used by the farmers to allow them to work through the day in the hot temperatures, as well as given to their cattle. The cattle were then taking shelter under the trees, and inevitably relieving themselves against them, and providing the source of tramadol detected. This appears to be backed up by the detection of tramadol in the roots of unrelated plants in the area.

The original researcher isn’t having any of it though, claiming that the new research’s claim that the farmers are the source of the tramadol is ‘a formal insult to the African populations and their traditional practices of using plants as medicines’. So, looks like we’ve got a real scientific fisticuffs* on our hands, but for now it seems the natural status of tramadol is unlikely.

*No actual fisticuffs likely.

Here’s the Chemistry World article on the latest study.

Trialling a new potential weekly feature on the site today, with the first ‘This Week in Chemistry’ graphic. You’ve probably already seen similar ideas elsewhere for science in general - I thought it’d be quite cool to have a feature exclusively for chemistry!

Links to articles and studies are available here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-xS

It’d be good to get people’s thoughts on this going forward as a regular feature - any suggestions welcome! I’ll be using the #TWIChem hashtag on twitter to collect articles through the week, so if you see something that you think should be featured in next week’s edition, be sure to suggest it.

Painkillers - how do they even work? Find out with today’s graphic, which looks at a selection of common painkillers, their structures, and their rough potencies. More detail & a bigger graphic here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-wV

Yesterday’s post marked the 100th post on the site - and this image shows a large selection of the graphics that have made up those posts! Don’t forget, you can reach all of them via the site’s index page (http://goo.gl/2KMzxO), or even by just flicking over to the facebook page’s photos tab.

Thanks to everyone who’s followed the site & shared the graphics so far - many more to come!

haniarahma:

compoundchem:

This graphic takes a look at the science behind jam-making, and how it sets. More detail in the accompanying post: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-wk

I love pineapple jam. Does this have a low or high in pectin?? :-))

Pineapples are low in pectin - so you’d need to either mix them with high pectin fruit, or add commercial pectin to your jam to get it to set well :)

This graphic takes a look at the science behind jam-making, and how it sets. More detail in the accompanying post: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-wk

frasertheisomer:

compoundchem:

New banner image for the site’s facebook and twitter pages!

Challenge: name all the featured chemical compounds, without cheating and looking them up. As a hint, they’re all related to the image they’re superimposed on: from left to right, coffee, raspberries, onions, lemons, mint and apples. All of them bar one have common names!

1,3,7-trimethypurine-2,6-dione? (I am guessing at the priority) (caffeine)
4(4-Hydroxyphenyl)butan-2-one (raspberry ketone? It is a ketone in raspberries?)
1-alkenylpropensulfoxide? (I am not confident on this one.)
2-hydroxypropantricarboxylic acid (citric acid!)
2-alkenyl-4(1-methyl)eth-2-enylcyclohex-1-ol (not so confident on this one either.)
2-hydroxybutanetrioic acid (Is that malic acid? It’s a Kreb-apple!)

Not bad! Spot on with caffeine, raspberry ketone, citric acid and malic acid. The onion one is syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the only molecule pictured which doesn’t have a common name, whilst the spearmint molecule is (R)-carvone.

I don’t think anyone’s gotten every single one yet, either here, or on facebook and twitter (or if they have they haven’t mentioned it!). So 4/6 is a very decent effort!

New banner image for the site’s facebook and twitter pages!

Challenge: name all the featured chemical compounds, without cheating and looking them up. As a hint, they’re all related to the image they’re superimposed on: from left to right, coffee, raspberries, onions, lemons, mint and apples. All of them bar one have common names!