The Facts About Kohl Pencils

Women decorate their eyes with kohl and it definitely looks good as it lends a definition to the eyes and makes them look more beautiful. But have you ever thought how this kohl evolved? Let us discover…

Have you noticed Jack Sparrow, the famous pirate character from “The Pirates of Caribbean”, being played by Johnny Depp? Jack Sparrow outlines his eyes with dark kohl and his look in the film is definitely distinct and leaves a mark on the audience. Almost every actress faces the camera with kohl applied on her eyes? Kohl helps in defining the eyes and sans this application, our eyes look empty and sad.

Women decorate their eyes with kohl and it definitely looks good as it lends a definition to the eyes and makes them look more beautiful. But have you ever thought how this kohl evolved? Let us find out.

History
The kohl finds its roots to ancient times. The word “kohl” literally means to brighten the eyes. The kohl was used by the Egyptians around 4000 B C E. Both men and women used to make a paste of lead sulphide and antimony sulphide and apply it around their eyes. The Egyptians believed that by applying kohl to their eyes, they could guard their eyes from eye disease, ward off evil spirits and also protect their eyes from the sun.

The Egyptians also believed that kohl helps in highlighting their eyes and attention was paid to their eyes. Kohl helps in adding depth and intensity to one’s eyes.

How are Kohl pencils made?
Different countries practice different methods to prepare kohl. In Egypt, women lighten the lead sulphide using white carbonate of lead. Kohl is then made from the soot of sunflower seeds, almond shells and by perfuming it with frankincense.

Another way of preparing kohl practiced by the Egyptians is by pounding lead sulphide with gum and frankincense. This mixture is then mixed with goose fat and cow dung. The mixture is then burnt. Lead oxide gets released when the mixture is burnt. The by-product obtained from burning the mixture is then mixed with milk and fresh rainwater. This is again pounded with mortar. The result is fine black coloured powder. The powder needs to be as soft as velvet to be around the soft skin of your eyes.

In India, lamp black and lead are the main ingredients used during the preparation of kohl. Kohl contains many heavy metals, lead and antimony.

Today, kohl is available in many forms. You get kohl in the form of liquid and are called as eyeliner; you get kohl in the form of pencils and also in paste form. People buy the form which they are comfortable with. Companies press this powder in between soft cedar wood and give it a form of kohl pencil. For eyeliner, this mixture is liquefied and is filled in opaque bottles. They come with a small brush as an applicator. For wax based kohl, wax is mixed with the powder and this lends a smoother finish compared to the rest.

Definitely, eyes speak a million words than our mouth. So go ahead, give your eyes that dramatic look and make sure you grab attention.

Winemaking Waste Could Become Biofuel Starter

Grape pomace, the mashed up skins and stems left over from making wine and grape juice, could serve as a good starting point for ethanol production, according to a new study.

Due to growing interest in biofuels, researchers have started looking for cheap and environmentally sustainable ways to produce such fuels, especially ethanol. Biological engineer Jean VanderGheynst at the University of California, Davis, turned to grape pomace, because winemakers in California alone produce over 100,000 tons of the fruit scraps each year, with much of it going to waste.

To determine how much ethanol they could produce from pomace, VanderGheynst and her team processed pomace from the Sutter Home Winery in St. Helena, Calif., under various fermentation conditions. The researchers found that pomace from white grapes yielded the most ethanol. Winemakers only squeeze the juice out of these grapes and don’t ferment the pomace, so much of the fruits’ sugar remains. Meanwhile, red grape pomace has been fermented over long periods, so less sugar remains for ethanol production. But the scientists found that adding dilute acid to the red grape pomace boosted ethanol yields.

On average, the researchers found, grape pomace produces less than half as much ethanol as corn does by dry weight. To squeeze the maximum ethanol out of the grape waste, researchers would need to develop techniques to convert the grape’s cellulose into ethanol, says lead author Yi Zheng, a chemist at the biotechnology company Novozymes, in Denmark. But, he thinks pomace could still be a feasible feedstock because the material is readily available. Ethanol producers could make grape pomace more economically viable if they combined ethanol production with manufacture of other pomace-based products, such as fertilizers or animal feed, he says.

New Research Of Self-assembling Polymeric Copper Catalyst

Few recently discovered chemical reactions have proven as powerful as the copper-catalysed Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between azides and alkynes—a transformation better known as a ‘click reaction’. The process gets its nickname from the robust, reliable way that the azide and the alkyne organic functional groups ‘click’ together.

From materials science to biochemical applications, this dependable method for joining molecules together has been exploited widely in the decade since its discovery. Now, Yoichi Yamada, Shaheen Sarkar and Yasuhiro Uozumi at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako have developed a new form of heterogeneous copper catalyst that promises to make the click reaction more efficient than ever.

Heterogeneous catalysts do not dissolve into the reaction mixture; they remain as a solid inside the reaction flask, offering a catalytic surface on which the reaction can take place. The key advantage of these catalysts is that they can easily be recaptured for re-use at the end of a reaction, often by simple filtration. Their disadvantage is that they are less intimately dispersed with the reactants than catalysts that dissolve, slowing the reaction.

The researchers overcame this disadvantage by embedding their copper within a self-assembled two-component polymer. The polymer backbone is made of a material called isopropylacrylamide, which has a hydrophobic sub-section and a hydrophilic sub-section. Overall, the material acts as an ‘amphiphilic sponge’: it readily draws in reactants and substrates regardless of their hydrophobicity, Yamada says.

The re-usable catalyst should find a host of applications, Yamada says. “The catalyst will be applied to the synthesis of pharmaceutical compounds and functional organic materials.” The next step for the researchers is to incorporate the catalyst into a ‘flow system’, in which the catalyst is immobilized within a cartridge through which substrates and reagents are continually pumped, generating a continuous steady stream of product.

The second polymer component is an imidazole, an electron-donating material that stabilizes and activates the copper to accelerate the click reaction. “The catalytic copper species within the sponge instantaneously react with substrates and reactant to give the products and to regenerate the catalyst,” Yamada explains.

The material’s performance is the best yet reported for a heterogeneous click catalyst, he adds. The best previous materials had turnover numbers below 1,000 before the catalyst would become deactivated, whereas the team’s catalyst had a turnover number of 209,000. The catalyst’s turnover frequency was also fast, turning reactants into product at a rate of 6,740 conversions per hour.

How Do Fire Extinguishers Work?

A fire extinguisher is almost a necessity in places such as societies, hospitals, malls and auto rickshaws. As the word goes, fire extinguisher is used to extinguish fire. But do you know how this thing works? Let’s find it…

What are fire extinguishers?
A fire extinguisher is a device made to protect us from fire. They are made of metal and are filled with different materials like water, foam or powder. There are many types of fire extinguishers. The body and the basic model stay the same. What differs is the material filled in them.

Types
It is very important to choose the right fire extinguisher to make sure that you fight the fire properly.

Class A types are made of water and are meant for ordinary materials like paper, cardboard, cloth and so on; The types of Class B are for flammable liquids like kerosene, petrol and so on; Class C fire extinguishers are meant for fire triggered due to electrical objects like wire, circuit and so on; Class D are meant for burning metals and are normally found in chemical laboratories.They are excellent when it comes to extinguishing fire caused by magnesium or sodium.

For home and general places like hospital fire extinguishers of Class A, B and C are generally used.

How do fire extinguishers work?
Fire extinguishers are filled with compressed gas. When you release the valve, the compressed gas is released at a high pressure and the gas extinguishes the fire. Usually sodium bicarbonate or baking soda or potassium bicarbonate pressurized with nitrogen is filled in the fire extinguisher. When you open the valve, the powder decomposes because of the compressed nitrogen and releases carbon dioxide that extinguishes the fire.

Carbon dioxide is a non-flammable gas and helps in putting out the fire easily. Carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen and hence when you spray it on fire, it displaces the oxygen and the fire stops.

In case you come across any minor fire incident, make sure you put the fire extinguisher to use and contact the fire department in case it is a major one.

The Analysis Of Cable Industry

The cable industry is trying to exclude station promos from a new law that says TV commercials can be no louder than the programs they accompany.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, requires that TV commercials be no louder than the programs they accompany. It’s up to the Federal Communications Commission to set and enforce the new rules.

The wire and cable industry comprises 40% of the entire electrical industry, which is expected to double in size over the next five years. The industry is growing at a CAGR of 15% as a result of growth in the power and infrastructure segments. It is expected to grow at similar rate for the next five years. The government’s emphasis on the power sector reforms and infrastructure will further drive growth. Nevertheless, the cable industry still can’t get its head around the idea that TV viewers should be able to watch the tube at the volume of their own choosing.

The wire and cable industry will eventually focus on supplying cables for specific applications pertaining to the industry needs. India has a lot of potential in the mining, power, oil and gas, metro railways, cement industry , steel industry and other sectors. Different kinds of cables like extra high voltage cables, elastomer cables, etc, are now being used for special applications such as mining/oil sector, shipbuilding /crane cables/elevator cables, cables for solar power plants, to harness power for new generation motor vehicles, windmill solutions, security systems and other types of data cables (antimony ingots are used in alloy,ternealloy,cable and printing industry).

This field requires and teaches freshers and professionals to be techno-commercially inclined. Ideally, electrical/mechanical engineers for manufacturing, electrical engineers for EPC related sales for special applications, managers with operations knowledge for implementation of world class manufacturing techniques, managers with knowledge of creative/application based marketing, MBAs who can use various strengths of companies and make use of adjacent opportunities, as well as fresh graduates who have the zeal to outperform and change customer outlook. The sector also provides tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities in trading, contracting and manufacturing.

Remuneration depends on the particular company, based on its own outlook. It also depends on the institute from where the candidates are sourced. Pay packets offered are on a par with market standards and is not a limiting factor for the right candidates. The remuneration for a fresher may range between rupees two lakh and five lakh per annum.

What Are the Facts of Zeolite?

Minerals can combine and show up in nature in a number of different forms. They can bind together to create unique compounds or be found in their pure form in different geographical or environmental locations. Zeolite is a product that contains a clinoptilolite zeolite molecule that is shaped in the form of a honeycomb and has a naturally negative charge that is used to remove metal toxins from the body.

Zeolites are not so easy to immediately identify because of the fact that they resemble simple rocks and crystals. It is a category of mineral which carries a specific set of characteristics. These minerals are porous and have the capability to absorb, be used as molecular sieves, and have catalytic and ion-exchange properties. When you look at a zeolite up close using a microscope you will notice that whatever it looks like, its surface will be covered in tiny holes or pores.

Natural zeolites can be found in one of two different places. The first is where volcanic rock and ash have mixed together. When this mixture interacts with water that has a high pH level, making it alkaline water, zeolites are formed in rock-like formations. In shallow marine basins, zeolites can also crystallize, though this process takes thousands of years. The water is full of minerals that will alkalize over time and eventually form the microporous zeolite framework.

Since zeolite structures can be designed to filter a particular sized substance, zeolite is used as a sieve or filter to purify or trap impurities. Zeolites are found in machines that make medical-grade oxygen and purify water. In the petrochemical industry they are altered through ion-exchange and become a hydrogen form of zeolite that are powerful acids and can cause acid-catalyzed reactions used in the separation of crude oil.

Zeolite (CAS No. 1327-44-2) has found use in a number of different fields and applied in various situations in them. Because of the tiny pores that they are made up of, they are perfect for trapping or filtering various elements and ions. In the home, they are commonly found as part of water filters. Chemsist also use zeolites to trap or filter certain molecules, since only very small ones can pass through a zeolite’s pores. They are also used in soil purification and to trap solar rays in order to collect heat.

Zeolite molecules are formed from hardened lava that reacts with salt over thousands of years and is completely safe to use. Zeolite is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat cancer or any other serious medical condition. However, the FDA has placed Zeolite on the list of generally recognized safe products.Zeolite should be used at your own risk.

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.

What Are The Uses Of Menthol?

Menthol is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from peppermint or other mint oils. It’s used in a large number of products and features certain therapeutic qualities. They can be stored for up to three years, provided they are not exposed to high levels of heat or humidity.

The compound was first isolated from peppermint oil in 1771 in the West, but it may have been in use in Japan for much longer. Most of menthol’s uses are related to its stimulation of the skin’s cold receptors. This property makes it produce a cooling effect when inhaled or applied to the skin. Similarly to the capsaicin chemical found in hot peppers, which stimulates heat receptors, menthol does not actually change the skin’s temperature, but merely produces the sensation of temperature change.

Menthol has antiseptic properties, which means it can be effective in killing germs and preventing infection. Because of this, it is often added to oral hygiene products, such as toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash. It can kill the germs that cause bad breath and leave the mouth with a cool feeling. Menthol can also be used to lessen the pain of a toothache.

Practitioners of homeopathic medicine believe that menthol can interfere with the effectiveness of these remedies, and some even go so far as to advise against the use of mint toothpaste. The idea may be rooted in the fact that African American smokers have both a higher incidence of cigarette-related cancers and a higher preference for menthol cigarettes than smokers of other backgrounds. There is no evidence these two statistics are causally related, however, and all types of cigarettes pose significant health risks.

Menthol’s cooling properties work to ease the pain of sunburn. It can also be used as a topical cream to reduce itching. Some shampoos, lotions and lip balms contain menthol. The chemical can be used to alleviate congestion in the nasal passages and in the chest. It thins the mucus and loosens it, making it easier for the body to expel it. Menthol is also effective at easing the pain of a sore throat. Cold relief products such as Vicks VapoRub, certain cough drops, and some types of facial tissue contain menthol.

Menthol has very low toxicity, although poisoning is possible if large quantities are consumed. Any ill effects from its use are extremely rare. Many people around the world enjoy its cooling sensation in gum, candy, lip gloss, and other products.

Omkar Expands Its India API Production

India’s Omkar Speciality Chemicals forays into API business and has acquired LASA Laboratory on Oct 18,2012. Recently, the company is again expanding its API and intermediate manufacturing in Badlapur, Maharashtra, this time with an investment of nearly $5 million in an API plant.

API is the largest segment of the specialty chemicals industry.  The growth of API market in India is likely to add pressure on the production capacities. This will result in an increased scope and revenue for OSCL. Increased restrictions on the production cost have forced the API manufacturers from developed countries to shift their manufacturing base to the emerging economies like India, China and Eastern European countries like Hungary and Poland. This has helped emerging countries to make their global presence felt in the API market.

The acquisition of Lasa Labs in April 2012 has enabled OSCL to gain a portfolio of 10 APIs like Albendazole, Closental and Flucanazole. Though most of the APIs are generic, they still offer incremental market opportunity for OSCL. For instance, Albendazole is estimated to have a global annual demand of about Rs 1.7 billion.

The company will invest 25 crore ($4.67 million) to expand the production capacity to 1,950 metric tons from 1,700 metric tons now at one facility, an expansion it says will be online in 8 or 9 months, the Business Standard reports. “There is tremendous pressure from customers as well, both domestic and global, for supply of products,” Chairman Pravin Herlekar tells the newspaper.

Herlekar said the company also is looking at building capacity with some acquisitions. “Having a stronghold in Hyderabad, a hub of pharmaceutical and biotech industry, we are considering having a manufacturing base here via the inorganic growth route,” he said.

The company next month will bring online additional capacity at another plant in that area. It now will be able to produce up to 2,800 metric tons of intermediates (such as 3-Fluoro-5-(trifluoromethyl)benzonitrile, the CAS number is 149793-69-1) for anti-cholesterol, anti-depression and cardiovascular drugs. The company in April acquired Lasa Labs, which has a plant that makes APIs for the veterinary drug industry.

Pharma industry in India is growing at a reasonable pace. This is on account of population growth and the changing life styles of people. The drug for applications on anti-diabetic, anti-cholestrol, anti-hypertension, anti-asthematic, etc., has been constantly in demand. Interestingly, the Indian pharma industry is expected to do well on the back of growing global demand for generics drugs.

Rilpivirine Used For HIV

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) requires a complicated treatment regimen to keep in check. Rilpivirine (TMC278, trade name Edurant) is one of the drugs that can be used as part of a treatment program. It is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) made by the New Jersey based Tibotec Therapeutics.

As of 2011, HIV was not curable, but it could be controlled through drugs. The virus can replicate itself enough, in the absence of antiviral drugs, to cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Rilpivirine targets one of the enzymes that the virus produces for this process. It is suitable as a primary treatment for new HIV diagnoses.

It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2011. Edurant is approved for people living with HIV starting antiretroviral therapy for the first time. It is not approved for people living with HIV who have already used antiretrovirals.

Edurant works by blocking HIV’s reverse transcriptase enzyme. After HIV’s genetic material is deposited inside a cell, its RNA must be converted (reverse transcribed) into DNA. NNRTIs stop this process and prevent HIV from infecting the CD4 cell and producing new virus particles. HIV mutates easily and gains resistance to the antiviral drugs, so rilpivirine is never used alone. Instead, it forms part of a treatment regimen that includes other drugs. This combination of drugs might be able to prevent the amount of viral particles in the body from increasing and therefore halt the progression of the disease.

Several medicines, such as the antibiotic rifampin, the steroid dexamethasone or the herbal product St. John’s wort are not safe to take with this drug. Patients who have also suffered from depression or mental illness should inform their doctors prior to taking the drug. Kidney, liver or heart trouble are also important for a doctor to know before he or she can prescribe the drug.

The Rilpivirine (4-Aminobenzonitrile is one of its intermediates) dose is one 25 mg tablet taken by mouth once a day. It should be taken with a high-fat meal (e.g., breakfast and dinner). Some medicines, such as antacids, can interfere with the action of this medication, so these should be taken at different times to the drug.

Side effects such as gastrointestinal issues are possible, and these can be severe. It can cause depression or mood changes. Be sure to contact your health care provider immediately if you are feeling said or hopeless, feeling anxious or restless, or have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself.

A Kind Of Medication Used To Treat HIV

Raltegravir (also known as Isentress) is the generic name of HIV-1 integrase strand-transfer inhibitor with potent antiretroviral activity. While it does not cure the disease, it can help slow the spread of the virus throughout the body.

The medication works by blocking the formation of the virus. In a body wherein HIV is present, there is also an enzyme called HIV integrase. This enzyme is in part responsible for the replication of the virus; raltegravir and the brand name medications that it is a component of act on these enzymes. The drug works against HIV’s integrase protein, blocking its ability to integrate its genetic code into human cells. By interfering with the function of them, it in turn helps slow reproduction and the spread of the virus through the body.

Raltegravir, formerly known as MK-0518, is the first licensed integrase inhibitor. It was given marketing approval in the US in 2007 and in Europe in early 2008 for use by treatment-experienced patients. Raltegravir’s approval was based upon the results from the BENCHMRK I and II studies that showed it had a durable anti-HIV effect in patients with limited treatment options.

Available in tablet form, it is generally administered with other medications. When first starting a treatment plan, raltegravir may contribute to some side effects. Side effects that are generally mild include gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Some individuals also may experience fatigue, headache, and may acquire a pale complexion. These generally go away as the body adjusts to the medication, but they should be reported if they do not.

Many medical professionals will require regular consultations with a patient while he or she is taking raltegravir (the CAS number for its intermediate is 888504-27-6). As it interferes with the way HIV replicates and spreads through the body, it may effect other areas of the body over time. A doctor may request that the patient take regular blood tests and undergo routine lab work in order to see how his or her body is reacting to long-term administration of the drug.

Even though an individual may feel better, he or she should continue taking the medication for the best management of the virus and its symptoms. Although the administration of raltegravir can help alleviate some of the symptoms of HIV, it does not cure the disease.  Those receiving treatment can still spread the disease and can be susceptible to some of the illnesses associated with it.

Why Is Sulfuric Acid So Functional?

Sulfuric acid is involved, in some way or the other, in the manufacture of practically everything, such as petrol, fertilizers, cars and soaps. They, like a lot of other things, require sulfuric acid to be made. That’s why sulfuric acid is called the king of chemicals.

On earth, sulfuric acid does not exist in a natural form. But on the planet Venus, there’s plenty of it. There are lakes of the acid, which evaporate to form clouds, which then rain sulfuric acid upon the Venerean surface. Indeed, the production of sulfuric acid is sometimes used as a measure of how industrially advanced a country is. India produces about 48 lakh tonnes of this acid a year.

Sulfuric acid is often stored in concentrated form. When diluting it, never pour water into the acid. That will make the whole thing explode. Instead keep crushed ice (made from pure water) in a large beaker, and pour the acid onto it, drop by drop. The ice absorbs the heat of the reaction, so it won’t explode. When the ice melts, you get dilute sulfuric acid.

Large amounts of sulfuric acid is used to clean up rust from steel rolls. These cleaned up rolls are used to make cars, trucks, as well as household appliances. It is used to make aluminium sulfate, which is needed for making paper. It is used to make ammonium sulfate, a common fertilizer. Sulfuric acid is used in petroleum refining to make high-octane petrol, which burns efficiently. It is put in the lead-acid batteries of your car battery … well, it is used to make practically everything!

60% of all sulfuric acid produced is mixed with crushed phosphate rock to make phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid has two uses – to make phosphate fertilizers, and to make sodium triphosphate, which is a detergent.

Never handle sulfuric acid yourself. If you spill a drop on your hand, it will react with the tissue, burning it instantly. It also causes dehydration. Fumes of sulfuric acid can cause blindness, and damage the lungs if inhaled. In case you accidentally spill acid on yourself, wash it under a tap for fifteen minutes at least, so that even the tiniest drop is washed away.

Never pour it from the bottle, but always use a thick glass pipette with a rubber bulb. The best is to let your teacher handle it, while you stand aside and watch. Even dilute sulfuric acid is dangerous. When handling sulfuric acid, always wear thick gloves and a lab coat or apron. Never handle it on an open bench, but use it in a fume hood. 

What Is Derris?

Derris is the common name used to refer to a number of species of the genus Derris and the family Fabaceae, also known as the bean or legume family. These plants are also referred to by the names tuba or tuba root and poison vine. Derris plants are climbing vines that contain a poisonous chemical called rotenone. The plants are often cultivated for this poison, which is used commercially as an insecticide. Some species of Derris plants are also considered to be invasive weeds that prey on trees like acacia and eucalyptus.

These plants are often parasitic, using large trees as hosts, which they climb and simultaneously strangle. Their vines can reach lengths of up to 52 feet (16 meters). Derris plants have small, sparse leaves called leaflets that are covered in tiny hairs. They also typically have flowers, usually pink or white in color, which are used to create bridal wreathes in some parts of southeast Asia. In the wild, the vines also grow oval fruits that resemble bright green pea pods. When cultivated commercially, the plants seldom produce fruit.

Derris vines are native to eastern and southeastern Asia, and grow wild in Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, China, and India. The plants are also grown for commercial reasons in many of these countries, and are also cultivated for use as insecticides and pesticides in America and parts of Africa. When Derris grows wild, it is usually found along roadsides, riverbanks, or on the outskirts of forested areas.

The poison found in most parts of these vines is called rotenone (CAS No. is 83-79-4), a chemical that is also found in a number of other vine plants, such as the jicama and the barbasco. Due to the fact that it is not absorbed efficiently when applied to the skin or ingested, this toxin is relatively harmless to humans, although a large dose could be potentially fatal to a child. Rotenone is dangerous or fatal to many species of fish and insects because it deprives their cells of energy.

Due to its efficacy in killing insects, rotenone is often used as an insecticide. It is also sometimes used by fishermen to kill or temporarily immobilize fish and shellfish. The bodies of the stunned or dead fish then float to the surface of the water, making it easy for the fishermen to bring them in. This practice of using poison for fishing is illegal in many parts of the world due to its detrimental effects on the environment.

The Facts You May Not Know About Ammonium Chloride

Ammonium chloride consists of white crystals that are also available in more or less worked up rods or lumps. It is a combination of two necessary elements for plant growth — nitrogen and chlorine. This acidic salt is also used in many household products, including polishes and cleaners. In summary, the salt is functional to industry and human life.

Found at sites of volcanic activity, the compound occurs naturally in mineralogical form and bears the name sal ammoniac. The compound is formed from a reaction between an ammonia-based alkaline and an acid; this produces a pH-neutral salt, although solutions of ammonium chloride are in fact slightly acidic.

The salt can be manufactured industrially directly from ammonia and hydrochloric acid but that is often not the most favourable from an economic point of view. Ammonium chloride is obtained as a by-product in different chemical processes, particularly from the Solvay process for production of sodium carbonate from sodium chloride, ammonia, carbon dioxide and water. Another easily available raw material is ammonium sulfate.

The main global producer is Japan where 220 000 tons were manufactured in 1993, mainly as a by-product. Most of it was used as fertilizer in rice cultivation. Production for this usage is pretty exclusive for Japan. More pure ammonium chloride is prepared for more specific fields of application, including making fireworks and pyrotechnics, dyeing textiles and as a flux in metalwork.

Ammonium chloride increased crop yields by up to 40 percent over crops with no chloride added, according to a multi-year study reported on by W. E. Thompson of the Oklahoma State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. The chloride also significantly increased the time it took for nitrogen to disappear from unlimed soil and is also being studied for disease prevention.

A large number of personal care products contain ammonium chloride. These products include shampoos, body washes, hair color and liquid hand soaps. Cleansers with ammonia-based phosphates for cleaning may also contain ammonium chloride to help create lather and add viscosity to the liquid.

Additionally, ammonium chloride is an acidic compound that is used to treat cases of low chlorides in the blood or in cases where the body is too alkaline due to vomiting, diuretics or some stomach disorders.

Ammonium chloride tastes salty and is a little cooling. This makes it useful in food; above all it is popular in sweets (salt liquorice). 

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!

Leaves of Carob Tree —— Source of Chocolate Substitute

Leaves of the plant that yields carob—the substitute for chocolate that some consider healthier than chocolate—are a rich source of antibacterial substances ideal for fighting the microbe responsible for listeriosis, a serious form of food poisoning, according to a report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Nadhem Aissani and colleagues explain that the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria has fostered a search for new natural substances to preserve food and control disease-causing microbes. They cite a need for new substances to combat Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria that caused food poisoning outbreaks in a dozen states with three deaths so far this year. Carob has attracted attention as a potential antibacterial substance, but until now, scientists had not tested it against Listeria. Carob may be best-known as a substitute for chocolate that does not contain caffeine or theobromine, which makes chocolate toxic to dogs.

In recent years, there has been great development in the search for new natural compounds for food preservation aimed at a partial or total replacement of currently popular antimicrobial chemicals. Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) offers a natural promising alternative for food safety and bioconservation. In this work, the methanolic extract of carob leaves (MECL) was tested for the ability to inhibit the growth of a range of microorganisms. MECL inhibited the growth of Listeria monocytogenes at 28.12 μg/mL by the broth microdilution method.

Their report describes tests in which extracts of carob leaves proved effective in inhibiting the growth of Listeria bacteria growing in laboratory cultures. Further, it offers a possible explanation for the antibacterial action. The results were promising enough for the scientists to plan further tests of carob extracts on Listeria growing in meat and fish samples.

Researchers Use Voltammetry to Probe the Brain’s Chemistry

Our brains are constantly awash in chemicals that serve as messengers, transporting signals from one neuron to another.  It’s a really nifty system, although scientists still aren’t clear on how, exactly, those chemical messages end up being converted into behaviors like kicking a ball or doing really complicated mathematical computations.

If scientists could get a clear picture of how that conversion works, it would further our understanding of brain function, and open up a host of new treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s or diabetes. So how do we figure out which chemicals are in the brain and what they’re doing in real time?

Chemist Leslie Sombers and her graduate student Leyda Lugo-Morales use an elegant approach that allows for real-time measurement of chemical fluctuations in the brain.  They use voltammetry, which sounds really cool and Frankenstein-y, but is basically a method of electrochemical scanning where voltage is applied to, and current is collected from, a carbon fiber microelectrode that is about 10 times smaller than a human hair.  The resulting data is in the shape of a graph called a voltammogram.  The size of the graph indicates how much of a particular chemical is present and the shape tells the researchers which chemical it is.

Some of the chemicals Sombers is interested in measuring – like glucose, for instance –are normally invisible to electrochemical measuring techniques like voltammetry.  So to make it work, Sombers attaches an enzyme to the electrode that reacts with glucose. The glucose molecule reacts with the enzyme and produces hydrogen peroxide, which oxidizes as an electrical potential is applied to the electrode. The resulting current gets measured, and that data is captured in the voltammogram. When the scientists see the hydrogen peroxide in their voltammogram, they know they’ve found glucose.

Lugo-Morales has already used the probe to make real-time measurements of glucose fluctuations at different locations in a rodent brain. She found that the amounts differed depending upon where the probe was located and that they fluctuated quite a bit over very short times –subseconds – which is how quickly our neurons work.

“A lot of people want to understand glucose dynamics in the brain,” Sombers says. “Sixty  to 70 percent of diabetics show neuronal dysfunction, plus glucose has been linked to diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.  If we can understand how glucose is used by the brain we can create better treatments for these diseases.”

First Successful Total Synthesis of Erythropoietin

“Blood is quite a peculiar kind of juice”—that is what Mephisto knew, according to Goethe’s “Faust”. But if blood really is very special, then erythropoietin (EPO) must be a very special molecule, as it triggers the production of our red blood cells. After ten years of intense research, American scientists have now succeeded in making a fully synthetic version of this special molecule. This achievement represents a landmark advance in the chemical synthesis of complex biological molecules from basic building blocks.

EPO is a hormone produced in the kidneys that induces the differentiation of bone marrow stem cells to erythrocytes (red blood cells). Upon sensing decreased oxygen in circulation, EPO is secreted to boost the production of red blood cells. EPO has found many therapeutic applications. Dialysis patients, whose haematosis is affected by renal failure, are treated with EPO and the drug is also given to cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Black sheep among racing cyclists, and other athletes, have abused EPO in an effort to improve their athletic performance.

Until now, only nature itself was able to synthesize EPO. For therapeutic use, the drug has to be produced biotechnologically in cell cultures. Iy is not actually one compound but a large family of molecules. Known as glycoproteins, the structures are composed of a protein decorated with four carbohydrate sectors. The protein portion is always the same, as are the locations at which the carbohydrate domains are attached. Yet, in endogenous EPO protein, there are a wide variety of different carbohydrate sectors that may be appended to the protein. It has not been possible to access naturally occurring EPO as a homogeneous, pure molecule.

By adopting the tools of chemical synthesis, the investigators were able to make, for the first time, pure “wild type” EPO glycoprotein incorporating the natural amino acid sequence and four carbohydrate sectors of strictly defined structure. Extension of this strategy will enable scientists to make numerous versions of the molecule and to study how differences in the chemical structure of the carbohydrate domains may affect how the glycoprotein induces the production of red blood cells.

The structure of the synthetic EPO was verified by mass spectrometry. Tests using stem cells proved the effectiveness of the synthesized EPO: like its natural counterpart, the synthetic EPO triggered the formation of red blood cells from stem cells.

Keratin Treatments: Danger or Delight?

Gone are the days when you could simply get away from a situation by saying that you are having a bad hair day. Today, with the advancements in hair treatments and techniques, there is absolutely no chance of having a bad hair day. Nowadays perfect hair is not restricted just for those who are in the glamour world or in the limelight always. Even a common person can have his/her hair in place with the help of such treatments.

For last few months, keratin hair treatments are making lot of buzz in the beauty industry. There are many speculations about this treatment. Let us find out how this treatment works and what keratin is.

What exactly is Keratin?
Keratin is a type of protein that is found in our hair, skin, nails and teeth. Keratin is formed by keratinocytes or living cells that are found in our hair, skin and other parts of our body.

When the keratin in our hair gets damaged due to several chemical treatments like colouring and so on, our hair starts looking frizzy, dull and unmanageable. By applying keratin solution back on the hair, the hair shaft gets a protective layer and turns smooth once again.

Keratin helps in changing the structure of the hair from inside the shaft and locks the hair from outside thereby making your hair strong and healthy.

Keratin is difficult dissolve as it contains a content called as cysteine disulfide. This gives the ability of forming disulfide bridges to the keratin. The disulfide bridges create helix shape and this is extremely strong in nature as sulphur atoms bond with each other in the helix and create a fibrous matrix making the solution difficult to dissolve.

What does Keratin Treatment do?
Keratin treatments smoothen dull and coarse hair and give your hair a shiny finish. The keratin fills the gaps that have developed in your hair cuticle. It is because of these gaps that your hair turns dull and dry. Once these gaps are filled, your hair turns smooth and silky. This keratin treatment smoothens the hair and makes it easy to be styled and managed. There are many types of keratin treatments that are available in the market. However, one thing that you need to consider is the level of a chemical called as formaldehyde.

The effect of keratin treatment lasts up to six months. However, it is important that you follow the instructions provided by the hair stylist to make sure that you get the best results.

The Hope Of New Drugs — Sea Sponges

Flinders University researcher Dr Jan Bekker is on a mission to chemically fingerprint South Australia’s marine sponges, with the wider aim of identifying new compounds that could ultimately play an important role in the fight against cancer and infectious diseases.

The Research Associate at Flinders Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development has discovered a large number of new chemicals from about 70 sea sponges, using a computer platform which distinguishes known compounds, which are common to all sponges, from those which have not yet been identified.

Marine sponges, which live in abundance in SA waters, constantly produce an array of different molecules as a natural defence mechanism against microorganisms and predators. Dr Bekker said, “sea sponges are sedentary, they don’t move around, so over millennia they have evolved a unique ability to produce chemicals to defend themselves from certain dangers in their environment including other dangerous animals and diseases.”

“Many of these chemicals have possible medical applications and diverse human health benefits,” he said.

Using mass spectrometry, an analytical technique for determining the chemical structures of molecules, Dr Bekker is metabolically “fingerprinting” the chemicals before using computational methods to identify new compounds. He said computational methods were also being used in combination with laboratory tests to predict anti-cancer and antibiotic properties in new sponges, with the ultimate aim to grow sponge cells in bioreactors to produce large amounts of the precious compounds.

“With thousands of different marine species in our waters containing many thousands of different compounds, the idea is to reduce the clutter of information and quickly zoom in on the unique chemicals that are functional and valuable, such as anti-cancer compounds,” he said.

“This will reduce the cost and time needed for bioproduct discovery, enabling more discoveries to become commercially available products for human health, in a shorter amount of time.”