The Role Of Glycogen In Body

Glycogen is the body’s stored energy, with the biggest storage site in the liver and the balance in the muscles. When broken down in the body, glycogen is transformed into glucose. A great deal of research has been done on glycogen and its role in the body ever since it was recognized as a critical part of the body’s energy storage system.

Glycogen is stored glucose. After eating, the body takes the glucose it needs to function for movement and brain power and stores the rest as glycogen in the liver and muscles, to be used at a time when it is needed. This is called glycogenesis. In humans, the body can store around 2,000 kilocalories of glycogen at any given time. When people eat, levels are refreshed, with the body working to keep levels as stable as possible so that there is a steady supply of energy.

After a few hours without refueling by food consumption, the body’s glycogen stores are exhausted and yet the nervous system continues to demand it. Lower glycogen stores result in sluggish mental and physical reactions, making it difficult to concentrate and respond to emergencies.

When blood sugar goes down, glucagon (a hormone) is secreted which turns glycogen into a fuel source (blood sugar), called glycogenolysis. When muscles contract, glycogen is broken down into glucose and the glucose is used as energy. After exercise, the body will replace its glycogen stores as soon as you eat something. If glycogen and fat reserves are depleted, the body begins to break down protein and use it as a fuel source.

Athletes can experience a situation in which their glycogen reserves are depleted. This occurs in endurance activities, in which the body slowly uses up its supplies over the course of an event like a marathon. When this point is reached, it is sometimes referred to as “hitting the wall,” thanks to the strain it puts on the body.

Expert Insight
Twenty-five percent of the body’s glycogen is stored in the liver, with 75 percent in the skeletal muscles and trace amounts in the heart and other tissues. Care must be taken not to undereat the foods needed in order to synthesize glycogen in the body and also not to overeat sugary food, as excess glycogen and glucose will be stored as fat. Balancing out complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index to simple carbohydrates is an important consideration when planning meals.

If you begin to get the mid-afternoon slumps, try eating a piece of cheese, a few grapes and whole wheat crackers. The fiber will be good for you and the fruit will give you that little bit of a glucose boost that you need.

Harmful greenhouse gas can be used for making pharmaceuticals

A team of chemists at USC has developed a way to transform a hitherto useless ozone-destroying greenhouse gas that is the byproduct of Teflon manufacture and transform it into reagents for producing pharmaceuticals.

The team will publish their discovery in a paper entitled “Taming of Fluoroform (CF3H): Direct Nucleophilic Trifluoromethylation of Si, B, S and C Centers,” in the Dec. 7 issue of Science.

Because of the popularity of Teflon, which is used on everything from cooking pans to armor-piercing bullets, there’s no shortage of its waste byproduct, fluoroform. Major chemical companies such as DuPont, Arkema and others have huge tanks of it, unable to simply release it because of the potential damage to the environment. Fluoroform has an estimated global warming potential 11,700 times higher than carbon dioxide.

But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and G.K. Surya Prakash—who has spent decades working with fluorine reagents—saw the tanks of fluoroform as an untapped opportunity.

Prakash, a professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, describes fluorine as “the kingpin of drug discovery.” About 20 to 25 percent of drugs on the market today contain at least one fluorine atom.

Fluorine can be found in all different kinds of drugs, everything from 5-Fluorouracil (a widely used cancer treatment discovered by Charles Heidelberger at USC in the ’70s) to Prozac to Celebrex.

“It’s a small atom with a big ego,” he said, referring to the fact that while fluorine is about the same size as a tiny hydrogen atom—so similar that living cells cannot tell the two elements apart—it is also extremely electronegative (that is, it has a strong attraction for electrons) making carbon-fluorine chemical bond quite strong, which improves the bioavailability of drugs made with fluorine.

The discovery was the product of many years of trial-and-error tests, hard work that the postdocs performed under Prakash’s direction. Eventually, the team pinned down the precise conditions needed to coax the harmful fluoroform (CF3H) into useful reagents, including the silicon-based Ruppert-Prakash Reagent for efficient CF3 transfer. Fluoroform with elemental sulfur was also converted to trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, a widely used superacid one-hundred times stronger than sulfuric acid.

“In real estate, everything is ‘location, location, location.’ In chemistry, it is ‘conditions, conditions, conditions,’” Prakash said.

Commen Sense About Cytarabine

Cytarabine is a chemotherapy drug used to treat certain kinds of cancer. Most commonly the drug is used to treat acute myeloid leukaemia. While it is effective against cancers, cytarabine also injures some normal, fast-growing cells across the body. As is common with most chemotherapy drugs, certain mild to severe side effects are associated with it.

Acute myeloid leukemia is a common bone marrow cancer that occurs most often in middle-aged adults. The disease causes defective white blood cells (WBCs) to be produced, and these then proliferate in the bloodstream, crowding out the normal leukocytes and the red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the tissues. Since leukocytes are vital to the immune system, patients may suffer from more infections and general immunodeficiency. The non-Hodgkin lymphomas are a group of different malignancies of lymphatic cells. Drugs that treat these cancers target their cell cycles, the processes by which they reproduce.

Cytarabine is used alone or with other chemotherapy drugs to treat certain types of leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Cytarabine is also used alone or with other chemotherapy drugs to treat meningeal leukemia (cancer in the membrane that covers and protects the spinal cord and brain). It is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body. This drug is given over a several month period and is placed into the body through injections into veins.

It is possible that those treated with Cytarabine will experience an allergic reaction to the drug. As a bone marrow suppressant, cytarabine can kill some some normal blood cells and prevent more of them from being made, resulting in anemia and immunodeficiency. The medication also can cause a severe decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. This may cause certain symptoms and may increase the risk that you will develop a serious infection or bleeding.

The Significance Of Dextran In History

In the World War Ⅱ, soldiers injured on the battlefield often died of very low blood pressure before they could reach hospital. But there was a dramatic change when the Korean War happened. There was a miracle life saver around – dextran.

Dextran is a complex carbohydrate, that is, a chain of sugar molecules strung together. It is a white powder which does not dissolve in water. Instead it absorbs water and swells into a loose jelly. So how did it help in the Korean War?

When a soldier is injured, he loses a lot of blood very quickly. This leads to loss of electrolytes and oxygen, and a sharp drop in blood pressure, endangering his life. He needs a blood transfusion immediately. But he cannot just be given any blood. If the blood groups do not match, there can be terrible complications.

During World War II, doctors tried transfusing plasma. Plasma is blood without any cells in it. It does not cause complications, and can immediately push up the blood pressure and replenish electrolytes. However, plasma can spoil easily, so it must be kept in ice all the time. An in the battlefield, where do you store plasma?

That’s where dextran helps. It can be carried dry, quickly mixed with water and salt and transfused to the patient. It pushes up the blood pressure immediately, while the saline helps restores some electrolytes. The patient can then be carried to a hospital where he can receive a proper blood transfusion.

How dextran was discovered
Dextran is made by bacteria. It is found in a place where you wouldn’t like it to be – dental plaque! It’s also found in small amounts in curd, and a fermented drink called kefir. But what was needed was a way to make dextran in large amounts.

In the 1940s, Allene Jeanes was a scientist at the USA’s Northern Regional Research Lab. A soft drink company had sent her a sample of their product, which had mysteriously become thick and gooey. She soon found that a bacterium had converted the sugar in the soda to dextran. Perhaps the bacteria had come from some worker’s dental plaque!

She found that the bacterium could be grown in the lab. It could grow in a vat of sugar solution, and make lots of dextran. That was then purified, dried, and sent on to Korea. There it would help soldiers survive the journey from battlefield to hospital, where they could get healed completely.

The Korean War ended in 1953, leaving Korea divided into two countries. But there was a clear winner of that war – dextran.

What’s the reason of hospital smell?

Ever stepped into a hospital, and immediately noticed the curious smell? It’s not the smell of disease, but of a particular disinfectant that hospitals prefer to use. This disinfectant is iodoform.


Iodoform is a compound of carbon, hydrogen and iodine, with the formula CHI3. It is used in hospitals and clinics as a mild disinfectant for cleaning the floors of the wards, corridors etc. It is not as strong-smelling as other disinfectants, which may disturb patients.

It can also be used as an antiseptic for treating skin infections, sores, bruises, boils, burns etc. When applied on the skin, iodoform decomposes to release iodine. It is iodine which acts as the actual antiseptic, killing bacteria and fungi. Iodoform is also safer than other antiseptics if it is accidentally swallowed.

Decline in use

Nowadays, newer kinds of antiseptics and disinfectants are available. These kill bacteria, fungi, insect larvae and worms much more effectively than iodoform. They also do not smell at all. Therefore modern hospitals are switching over to these antiseptics. And example is cetrimide (commonly sold as Savlon).

However iodoform is still useful in drug factories, where it is used as an intermediate in making many kinds of drug molecules.

What is olanzapine?

Zyprexa, the brand name of olanzapine, is in a family of drugs called “atypical antipsychotics.” It is also sometimes used to help treat delusions associated with other mental conditions such as bipolar disorder. These are the only conditions approved of by the FDA for this drug.

Zyprexa works as both a sedative and a mood stabilizer by acting on chemistry within the brain. This can help a patient suffering from GAD to get needed rest. Ideally, Zyprexa is to be used in combination with talk therapy. It cannot cure anxiety all by itself. By being sedated and having the moods stay steady, the patient has a better chance to pay attention to the talk therapy and try out any suggestions.

Olanzapine is available in pill form and also can be used as an intramuscular injection. However, injections are usually only given in a hospital setting.
The medicine is available as either a regular or orally disintegrating tablet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Adult schizophrenic patients usually start off at about 5 to 10 mg per day and usually do not exceed 20 mg per day. Those with bipolar disorder will usually need 5 to 15 mg per day, though as much as 20 mg may be needed to treat manic episodes. Olanzapine should not be taken with food.

People may experience one or more of the following side effects: blurred vision, other changes in vision, bloating of the arms, hands, feet, lower legs or face, clumsiness, problems talking and difficulty swallowing. It will also greatly increase your appetite. This combination of not wanting to move but wanting to eat causes you to gain weight. The most common side effect is significant weight gain, even over 20 pounds in 3 months.

Expert Insight
Zyprexa can often greatly help people suffering from anxiety. It can help them relax, rediscover some joys in life and to regain a sense of humor. In your doctor’s mind, the need to help your mental health will often take precedence over the possibility of weight gain from Zyprexa. Always tell your doctor any strange symptoms you suddenly develop when taking Zyprexa. The use of a cane or support when standing up is greatly recommended, or else you may get dizzy.

NASA Improve Baby Food: Lots More Information

When you think of baby formula, you probably don’t think of NASA or a space craft. The lead scientific team that invented the original baby food formula spent time as researchers for NASA, and it was there that they first conceived of a nutritional supplement that is now called Baby Formula all over the world.

In fact they were not even looking at nutrition for astronauts, but at creating oxygen in space!

While NASA researchers were exploring the idea of using algae as a way to create oxygen in outer space through the process of photosynthesis, they made a few new discoveries. During the research phase, certain types of algae were found to contain a couple of essential fatty acids that are present in human breast milk — Docosahexaenoic acid and Arachidonic acid.

This accidental discovery was researched and refined for years and was finally put to use in baby formula.

Healthier nerves and eyesight for babies

Many baby formulas are now enriched with DHA(Docosahexaenoic acid, the CAS number is 6217-54-5) and ARA. The human body naturally produces both DHA and ARA, and it’s been found that direct consumption of the two fatty acids can help babies — particularly premature babies — in their development.

While long-term benefits haven’t been proven yet, it appears that in the short term, both visual and neural developments are benefactors of this algae-enriched ingredient. The additives have only been in use since 2002, and while they’ve been FDA approved, the regulatory body has asked that companies that sell baby formula containing DHA and ARA monitor the effects for long-term study.

Thanks to NASA’s research, savvy parents now seek out DHA- and ARA-enriched formulas for their pre-term and full-term infants.

Main Toxic Chemicals In Beauty Products

People, especially women, use beauty products to look better, but unfortunately sometimes the short-term look is not worth the long-term damage that such products can do to our skin. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has revealed that an average American uses about 10 personal care products — from lipsticks to moisturizers — each day that contain hundreds of harmful ingredients.

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 replaces the outdated federal law that holds no clauses against the presence of harmful chemicals in beauty products. According to this act, the Food and Drug Administration is vested with the power to ensure that products for personal use do not include any harmful ingredients.

Alcohol acts as a poisonous solvent. It is also known as a denaturant, or a chemical that brings changes to the structure of other chemical components. Alcohol is used as an ingredient in color rinses for the hair, hand lotions, after shave lotions and fragrances. It can cause nausea, headache and vomiting, flushing as well as depression. Other effects brought about by alcohol are dryness of hair and skin and cracks and fissures on the skin. These cracks can further develop as breeding grounds for bacteria.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, abbreviated as SLS, is a common detergent found in everything from toothpastes to makeup. It is so powerful it is also found in automobile de-greasing solutions and commercial floor cleaners. This chemical can badly dry out skin, and becomes a carcinogen when mixed with some other common beauty product ingredients.

Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are chemicals that react with cosmetic ingredients that contain nitrites to form nitrosamines. Most of the nitrosamines are carcinogenic, or, they can cause cancer. These toxins mostly affect the liver and kidneys. These chemical reactions occur during the manufacturing process and while the cosmetics are stored in their containers.

This chemical is known by several other names such as mineral oil jelly, liquid Vaseline and paraffinum. It is one of the main ingredients in baby oil and body lotion. It can cause the extraction of natural oils contained in the skin and bring about chapping and dryness. It is also known to cause premature aging and block the removal of harmful chemicals from the skin, thus causing acne and other skin problems.

Vitamin D2 For Bones In Body

Vitamin D2, or Ergocalciferol, is one of the most important forms of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to humans for its ability to help with normal bone growth. Vitamin D2 is a fat-soluble sterol, which is an organic molecule that is found in plants and yeast. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to diseases like rickets in children and osteomalacia–softening of the bones–in adults.

In the 1920s, vitamin D2 was discovered through exposing invertebrates, such as fungi or plants, to ultraviolet. Pharmaceutical companies patented the process. Vitamin D2 is not made naturally in vertebrates, or animals with an internal skeletal system. Vitamin D2 is better than vitamin D3 at absorbing ultraviolet radiation. It is white in color and is not soluble in water but in organic solvents and vegetable oil.

Vitamin D2 helps ensures the absorption of calcium happens in the body producing healthy bones, teeth and to help fight high blood pressure. Vitamin D2 may also help in the fight against osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases. Rickets today is often due to problems with the body’s absorption of vitamin D, diseases of the liver and kidney, or conditions that alter calcium in the body.

The recommended dose for vitamin D2 is 5 micrograms daily. Most multivitamins have the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D included in them. Luckily, Vitamin D is available in plentiful supply, from natural sources that are inexpensive, and even free.

Much of this requirement can be fulfilled by eating small portions of fatty fish. Grandmothers recommended cod liver oil for years for a reason–it’s packed with vitamins. Just one tablespoon provides 1360 IU of vitamin D, more than three times the daily requirement for most adults. Eggs are nature’s perfect food. Besides being packed with protein and good fats, they’re also a good source of vitamin D. But it’s all in the yolk, so go with the whole egg to get 20 IU.

Recent studies have suggested that vitamin D2 is not as efficient as vitamin D3 in biological value and its use in multivitamins should stop. Because vitamin D2 is manufactured, its stability and longevity is questionable. This can lead to issues with toxicity and loss of vitamin D concentration over time.

How Much Do You Know About Collagen?

The word collagen is a familiar one, usually in the context of beauty products and skin rejuvenation, but most people know little about it. It is part of the connective tissue found all over our bodies and is made from protein and large amounts of two amino acids: hydroxylsine and hydroxyproline. Collagen has a triple-helix structure that gives it great tensile strength. These strands are composed of  proline, glycine, another form of proline called hydroxyproline and lysine.

According to the University of Arizona, proline is not actually an amino acid, but
an imino acid, yet it is still called an amino acid. It is called a nonessential amino acid, in that it does not have to be obtained from dietary means, but is manufactured in the liver from other amino acids. Proline is needed for the proper function of joints, tendons and ligaments and is also involved in strengthening heart muscle.

Glycine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins, that composes
one-third of the collagen strand called a fibril. Fibrils are the strand of molecules that make up the collagen structure. Whereas most proteins contain very small quantities of glycine, it makes up a third of collagen. Glycine works as a neurotransmitter in the body.

Hyrdoxyproline(also known as L-Hyrdoxyproline or (2S,4R)-4-Hydroxyproline
) is produced when a hydroxyl group, an oxygen-hydrogen molecule, is added to the amino acid proline. Vitamin C must be present in the human body for this hydroxyl group to be added. When vitamin C is absent in the diet, hydroxyproline synthesis is inhibited, resulting in certain diseases that are the result of lack of proper L-Hyrdoxyproline synthesis in the collagen molecule, such as difficulty in healing wounds and fractures, problems with blood vessels and the development of scurvy.

Eat legumes, in particular, peanuts,for a significant source of the amino acid
lysine. Include chickpeas in your menus as a healthy source of zinc, copper and selenium, minerals needed for collagen production. Satisfy your sweet tooth with deeply colored red and blue berries and fruits such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. They’ve been shown to contain anthocyanidins that help link collagen fibers together and strengthen connective tissue.

Eat red, green and orange vegetables to boost your antioxidants and collagen production. Support your collagen tissue by eating a variety of proteins. Fish, lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products and nuts and seeds are sources of lysine and proline amino acids. 

Fact & Treatment of Hepatitis B

Hepatitius B is a serious disease that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is the most common liver disease in the world.Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Available alternative cures include herbal formulations, traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathic remedies.

Types of Hepatitis
According to Dr. Larry Altshuler in his book Balanced Healing, hepatitis A is contracted through contaminated food or water, or through contact with an infected person. About 99 percent of hepatitis A cases resolve themselves. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne illness most often caused by sexual contact, needle use and blood transfusion; approximately 10 percent of people with hepatitis B become chronic carriers. Hepatitis C is also a blood-borne illness and accounts for 16 percent of cases.

How Hepatitis is Spread
The best way to protect against transmission of the disease is to know how it is spread. Hepatitis is spread through an infected mother to her newborn child, sex with an infected partner, sharing needles and other personal items, such as toothbrushes, with an infected person and direct contact or exposure to blood of an infected person. You are also at risk if you travel to countries with high levels of Hepatitis infections. Guard against these situations and make sure to get tested for early detection of the disease.

Entecavir hydrate
is an oral antiviral drug used in the treatment of hepatitis B infection. Entecavir hydrate is a nucleoside analog (more specifically, a guanine analogue) that inhibits reverse transcription, DNA replication and transcription in the viral replication process. Entecavir hydrate is more efficacious than previous agents used to treat hepatitis B (lamivudine and adefovir). Entecavir hydrate is also indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B in adults with HIV/AIDS infection. However, Entecavir hydrate is not active against HIV.For adults, if you feel that you are at risk for hepatitis then you should contact your physician and discuss getting the vaccine.

Dr. Altshuler recommends several Chinese formulations if previous steps do not improve your symptoms or if your liver enzymes remain elevated. He suggests contacting a practitioner qualified in Chinese herbal medicine to determine which formulas are best for your symptoms. Improvements should be noted within three to six weeks but for maximum benefit the treatment should probably be taken longer.

What Causes Stained Aluminum Frames?

If you’ve seen mom or dad cooking rice in an aluminium pressure cooker, you might notice they put a slice of lemon in the cooker. Aluminum, like other metals, is susceptible to corrosion, oxygen in the air, as well as airborne dust and dirt. Wonder why they do that? What would happen if the lemon wasn’t there?

Let’s Understand Aluminium
Aluminium is an interesting metal. It is easy to beat into shape (malleable), so engineers
like it a lot for building things. It’s also very light in weight because it isn’t dense. And it doesn’t react very easily, so things made from aluminium don’t corrode. That makes it quite the opposite of iron or steel, which are heavy and rust easily.

This makes it a good material to make aeroplanes and space shuttles. But it also makes it a good material to make kitchen utensils. An aluminium cooker won’t leak aluminium ions when boiling rice in it (whereas a steel* cooker will). But over time, the acids present in food can cause some corrosion.

Why it blackens
There are two kinds of aluminium cooking vessels. The cheap ones are made of metallic
aluminium. ‘Anodised’ aluminium vessels have a protective coating (see below), but they’re more expensive.

Rice and dal and most other foods are generally acidic in content. During cooking, the acid
in the food helps the oxidation of aluminium to insoluble oxides. These settle on the base of the vessel, forming a dull grey layer. This layer is not smooth, so it can trap dirt, caramel (from some burnt sugar in the food) and other stuff, forming a dark stain which is difficult to clean.

What we can do about it
You can beat it by putting a slice of lemon (or a spoonful of vinegar) in the cooker while
cooking. There are acetate, oxalate(such as Magnesium Oxalate) and citrate ions present in the lemon, which react with the aluminium oxides, forming compounds that dissolve in water. You can also use potassium hydrogen tartarate (cream of tartar) to remove stains. The same principle works for hard water.

Or you can buy a cooker made of ‘anodised’ aluminium. ‘Anodising’ is a method by which the surface of the aluminium is oxidised using an electric current. A thin film of aluminium oxide forms on the surface. This thin film is smooth, and clings very tightly to the vessel. The advantage is that it is easier to clean, and prevents further corrosion of the aluminium by the acids in food.

How To Make Milk Powder?

Alomost all of us have known the taste of milk powder, whether dry or dissolved in milk. Do you know that as powder, milk can be preserved for years together? Let’s have a look into how it is made.

Drying Milk
The Italian explorer Marco Polo reported that the soldiers of Kublai Khan (the Emperor of
the Mongols in the 13th century) knew how to make milk powder. They would leave milk to dry in the hot sun of the Gobi desert till it became quite thick. When they needed milk, they would put some of the dry paste in water and dissolve it. Easy wasn’t it?

Nowadays, milk is dried quickly in factories. There are two ways. One is called ‘spray drying’. Milk is sprayed into a huge chamber, and heated air is blown from the other end. The droplets of the milk dry up very quickly in the hot air, and fall down. The powder can then be scraped off and packed into jars or sachets.

Another way is ‘drum drying’. In this, milk is sprayed onto huge drums, which are heated by electric current. The heat makes the water in the milk evaporate, and the powder stays behind on the drum. Drum-dried milk is often flaky and sticky, while spray dried milk is powdery and non-stick.

Buy a few sachets of milk powder of different brands. Ask your friends to join you in feeling and tasting the powder. Which brand was spray-dried and which was drum-dried?

Why dry milk (and anything)
All living things need water to survive. This is because water is the solvent in which most
chemicals dissolve – like vitamins(such as Nicotinic acid and the CAS numner is 59-67-6), amino acids, carbohydrates and minerals. The enzymes that convert the food we eat into energy work only in a wet environment. This is true for every living organism, including bacteria.

If you go to a village, you will see chillies, papads, fish, grapes (to make raisins) and other things left out to dry in the sun. In a dry environment, bacteria cannot grow and multiply. If you remove moisture from food and store it in water-tight and air-tight containers, it will last almost forever.

The Colombo Plan
In the 1950s, there were food shortages in many countries, including India. A group of 8
countries had a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here they created a plan by which countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada would supply milk and other food to countries which were short of them. Under this plan, a large amount of milk powder was shipped from New Zealand to India. The powder would be dissolved in water to make milk, which was then distributed to homes. This continued till the White Revolution, when India was able to overcome its shortages.

The Common Konwledge About Essential Oils

Essential oils are used in many homemade products. They can be expensive, though, if purchased commercially. If you have a flower or herb garden, or use a lot of essential oils, then an economical choice is to make your own essential oils. When you open a bottle of rose or lavender scent, do you wonder how it came to be there? Let’s have a look at how the fragrance of a rose is trapped and bottled!

Essential Oils
You might have read an earlier article about what made perfumes smell nice. In this
article, we’ll have a look into the many steps of chemistry required to make a perfume from the original flowers.

Every flower or leaf has a few chemicals unique to it. For example, lemon leaves contain a chemical called limonene. This is the one that gives them the unique ‘lemon’ smell. The reason they smell is because they evaporate easily, and when they enter our nose, the nerves can detect them.

Used in aromatherapy, rose oil will lift your spirits and help combat depression and anger. Its calming effects are similar to lavender and chamomile and are sometimes found in combination with these other oils. Rose oil helps people with insomnia or who have trouble sleeping through the night. Such chemicals are called ‘essential oils’. They are oils because when liquid, they don’t mix with water. The word essential refers to the fact that they represent the ‘essence’ of the plant. Lemon wouldn’t seem lemony without limonene.

So how do we get them out?
Over hundreds of years, chemists have found ways and means to separate these essential oils
from their plants. Scientists like Al-Kindi and ibn Hayyan were among the first to describe methods.

A common method is steam distillation. You can try it with the help of your chemistry teacher. Set up a distillation apparatus. Get some flowers and crush them (you’ll need a lot). Put them on a steel net and put the net in the part where the water boils (but the water shouldn’t touch the flowers). Now you’re ready to start.

As the water boils, the steam will pass through the crushed flowers. The heat makes the essential oils in them evaporate. As the steam and the evaporated oil pass into the condensation chamber, they’ll cool back to water and oil. Keep this vessel overnight. The water and oil will separate, giving you a layer of oil on top.

Carefully collect the oil from the upper layer into a fresh bottle. You can add some alcohol to build up the volume. Now you’ve got a scent ready!

How To Prevent Apples Turning Brown?

     You start eating an apple, and just then you friend calls you up about homework, and you’re speaking for hours together. When you come back to your apple, it’s gone brown all over. What happened?

Rusting in apples

The brown colour is because your apple has rusted! That’s because apples are rich in iron, which is present in all their cells. When you cut an apple, the knife damages the cells. Oxygen from the air reacts with the iron in the apple cells, forming iron oxides. This is just like rust that forms on the surface of iron objects. An enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (that’s present in these cells) helps make this reaction go faster.

If you cut a browned apple into two again, you’ll notice that the insides are still white. That’s because the cells inside were intact, and did not let oxygen enter right inside.

Lots of other fruits and vegetables also turn brown when cut. These include bananas, pears and even potatoes.

Keeping an apple from turning brownThere’s no harm in eating an apple that has turned brown, for the iron oxide will not affect you. But when you’re making a fruit salad or apple pie, the browning may make it look unattractive. Here are some things you can do to stop or slow the browning:

  1. Cut and keep the apples under water. This prevents air from reaching the iron. But it may cause some vitamins to leach into the water.
  2. Rub the cut apples with lemon juice. The acid in the lemon juice stops the polyphenol oxidase from working.
  3. If you’re making apple pie, you can dip the apples in boiling water for a few seconds and take them out. This is called blanching, and it stops the browning enzyme.
  4. You can add some salt to the apples; the salt stops the enzyme. Do this if you don’t mind the salt-and-sweet taste that will result.
  5. Keep the apple pieces in an airtight jar, or wrap them in cling wrap very tightly. This also stops air from getting to them.

And finally, the method we like the most. Turn your apple into apple juice. The iron oxide gives it the special golden-brown colour, and it’s a tastier way to consume an apple!

What Are Blood Collection Tubes?

When you have to take a blood test, do you notice that the lab person collects your blood into a special tube marked ‘heparinised’? Let’s find out why a special vial is needed.

How blood clots
When you prick a finger, you notice blood comes out. If you leave it alone, the blood soon
dries into a thick, brownish ‘clot’. How does this happen?

If your blood didn’t clot, so much blood would come out of the prick that you would become very ill. But blood has its way of self protection. When there is an injury, the damaged tissue sends special chemical signals to the body. These signals are received by a kind of blood cells known as platelets. The platelets rush to the site of the prick.

Platelets are tiny storehouses of various chemicals, which do many things. Some of them signal to those cells which will start the healing process. But several of these chemicals (together called ‘clotting factors’) cause the activation of a molecule called thrombin. This is an enzyme present in blood that converts fibrinogen to fibrin. Fibrinogen is a protein that is dissolved in blood plasma. When thrombin acts on it, it becomes fibrin, which is insoluble. Fibrin molecules get deposited at the prick, and in a short time, completely seal off the wound. No more blood leaks now.

Many of the clotting factors need Vitamin K to work properly. Lack of vitamin K in the body causes unstoppable bleeding. Cabbages, grapes and green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K.

Heparin and other ‘anticoagulants’
When you give blood for a blood test, the blood will clot in the vial. This makes it
unsuitable for testing. Therefore, lab technicians use special vials that are coated with anticoagulants (Coagulation is the scientific name for clotting).

One such chemical is heparin (its CAS No. is 9005-49-6). This is a complex polysaccharide produced by white blood cells. When heparin is mixed with blood, it interferes with the action of thrombin. This prevents it from converting fibrinogen to fibrin.

Apart from use in blood tests, heparin is also used to treat people who have abnormal clotting within their blood vessels. It is used when open heart surgery is being done to keep the blood flowing, and also in other heart disease conditions.

Coagulation in the lab
Try this experiment in your biology lab. Take a glass slide, and put a drop of heparin* on
one side. Ask your teacher to prick your finger, and with a capillary, suck up some blood. Mix one drop with the drop of heparin, and on the other side of the slide, put a drop of plain blood. Leave the slide for a few minutes, and then watch under a microscope. What do you see?

What makes sugar explode?

Imagine you are at the breakfast table and about to put some cereal in the milk. Now as you reach for the sugar from the bowl, the spoon clinks against the bowl and – BOOM? Sounds impossible? Could be. Read on to find out more.

The fact
Sugar (the chemical name is D(+)-Sucrose) won’t really end your breakfast with a bang, but
what’s crazy is that sugar actually can be dangerous; not to the consumer, but to the people who operate the refinery. That’s the place where sugar is prepared and packaged.

The little-known danger associated with refining sugar came suddenly into focus on Feb. 7, 2008, when the Imperial Sugar Company refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., suddenly exploded. Fire officials believe that an accumulation of sugar dust within the refinery ignited and caused the incident. Sugar dust? How exactly can sugar explode? Let’s solve the mystery.

Sugar: A Natural Explosive
Though you may not normally think about it, one of sugar’s properties is that it is
flammable – means it can catch fire. A flaming marshmallow is a good example of burning sugar.

Any organic material can burn. But for an explosion to take place, especially in the case of volatile dusts like sugar, a few other factors must be involved.

Imagine you’re in an enclosed room coated with a thick layer of sugar dust. You smack your hand down on a table top, disturbing some of the sugar dust and dispersing it into the air. If you are unwise enough to light a match, and you could see the ensuing explosion in slow motion, you’d notice that what appears to be a single, instantaneous burst is actually a series of chain reactions. The sugar dust particle ignited by your lit match ignites another particle and so on. The entire process is fueled by the oxygen in the room, and since the dust is suspended in the air, it interacts with the oxygen more easily than when it’s settled on the table. This is also why marshmallows don’t explode; the D(+)-Sucrose inside the dense confection doesn’t have much oxygen to interact with.

The force of the blast depends on the enclosed room. The chain reaction produced from the ignited sugar dust particles produces energy. This produces compression and expands the volume of the air. When this buildup occurs faster than the flame burns – as can be the case indoors – you have an explosion. The first explosion is called the primary explosion, and the force created by a primary explosion can unsettle even more sugar dust, causing a secondary explosion. The two can happen in quick succession, and the second blast is often the more powerful. First a boom, then a KABOOM!

So even though now you can eat your breakfast in peace, remember that even something as minute as sugar dust can be dangerous. So be safe.

How do artificial flavors work?

All the snacks and chocolates that you love to feast on have something in common. If you read the packaging carefully you’ll see the text ‘Contains Artificial Flavors’. If you ever wondered what that means, read on.

First of all, how do we smell and taste things?

Smell is a very direct sense. Anything that we smell contains some sort of chemical that evaporates and enters our nose and comes in contact with sensory cells in the nose.When chemicals come in contact and activate our taste buds, we taste them.

Artificial flavors in action
Mimicking a natural flavor isn’t that easy because natural flavors are normally quite
complex, with dozens or hundreds of chemicals interacting to create the taste/smell. But it turns out that many flavors – particularly fruit flavors – have just one or a few dominant chemical components that carry the bulk of the taste/smell signal. Many of these chemicals are called esters. For example, the ester called ‘ Octyl Acetate is a fundamental component in orange flavor. The ester called ‘Isoamyl Acetate’ is a fundamental component of banana flavor. If you add these esters to a product, the product will taste, to some degree, like orange or banana. To make more realistic flavors you add other chemicals in the correct proportions to get closer and closer to the real thing. You can do that by trial and error or by chemical analysis of the real thing.

Creating flavours that don’t exist in nature
There are hundreds of chemicals known to be flavoring agents. It’s interesting that they
are normally mixed to create “known” tastes. People make artificial grape, cherry, orange, banana, apple, etc. flavors, but it is very rare to mix up something that no one has ever tasted before. But it can and does happen occasionally. Juicy Fruit gum is a good example!

So next time if you read ‘Contains Artificial Flavors’, you’ll know that chemistry was involved in helping create it!

Vanilla As A Natural Mosquito Repellent

After they mate, female mosquitoes need to feed on blood to provide the necessary nutrition to allow her eggs to mature. Mosquito bites are not only itchy and irritating, but mosquitoes can also potentially carry dangerous diseases such as West Nile virus. It is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites, and many tout vanilla as an effective, natural mosquito repellent.

According to the University of Wisconsin, two published studies and one informal study tested the efficacy of vanilla as a natural mosquito repellent. All found little to no repellent activity in vanillin, which is the primary component of vanilla bean extract.

The two published studies cited by the University of Wisconsin tried adding vanillin to some commercially available mosquito repellents. While ineffective as a mosquito repellent on its own, vanillin proved to be useful in increasing the efficacy of other repellents.

Much of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of vanilla as a mosquito repellent is anecdotal. Some outdoor enthusiasts maintain that vanilla is the most effective repellent they have ever used. However, most major medical studies, including a 2002 study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicate that plant oil-based repellents are far less effective than those containing N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET.

Because scientific studies indicate that natural remedies such as vanilla are not effective at repelling mosquitoes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you use products containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus for maximum mosquito bite prevention.

Manufacturers are looking for more reliable sources of flavor and fragrance ingredients. They now face price-swings and supply disruptions caused by natural disasters, poaching and other problems in the far-flung places where fragrant natural plant oils originate. Major flavor and fragrance houses thus are turning to biotechnology companies that use genetically engineered microbes to produce ingredients that mimic natural flavors and fragrances.

The microbes can produce vanillin, for instance, which is the stuff of vanilla, and picrocrocin, normally extracted from saffron, which costs about $900 a pound. Microbial production has another advantage aside from reliability, Bomgardner notes: It reduces the cost of such otherwise rare and expensive ingredients.

Besides, according to University of Wisconsin, catnip oil proves to be an effective mosquito repellent in studies. However, commercially available mosquito repellents still provide more protection.

Why Does Turmeric Turn Red?

Almost every Indian delicacy has Turmeric giving it the yellow tinge we love. You are busy eating your food when a spoonful of curry falls on your white shirt. You decide to go home and wash it. The moment you dip the shirt in soap water, the stain turns red. You are horrified! Do you know why this change in chemical occurs? Let’s find out!

Turmeric is known as the best healer is used in many antiseptic creams and skin creams. You definitely remember the ads of ‘Vicco Turmeric’. Research also shows that turmeric helps in aiding fat loss and helps in weight management and more research is being done to see how it helps cure illnesses like cancer.

Turmeric has been cultivated in India and other countries for the past 2500 years. It was introduced to China by India in 700 AD. Slowly and gradually, other countries started cultivating turmeric. It is an Indian spice, which is made by grinding the roots of Curcuma Longa plant or curcumin. It is yellow in colour and adds special flavour and colour to the food. It also acts as an excellent antibiotic. The curcumin content in turmeric helps fight infections.

What happens when turmeric comes in contact with detergent?

Turmeric has a pigment known as xanthophylls, which lends the yellow colour to it. It also has a pigment called as carotene, which is reddish orange in colour. When turmeric comes in contact with detergent, it reacts with the fatty acids present in the detergent and hence the carotene pigment gets more active than the xanthophylls and turmeric turns red. When turmeric is combined with any base liquid like soap it turns red in colour while when turmeric comes in contact with any substance like that of vinegar, that is acidic in nature, it turns yellow.

Besides being beneficial to mankind, it’s also an interesting object to study. So add turmeric to your food and keep up the spice in your life!