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EXPLORATIONS OF EVERYDAY CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS

Food Chemistry – The Maillard Reaction

01/27/2015
Food Chemistry - Maillard Reaction

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There’s one chemical reaction that, whether you have an interest in chemistry or not, we all carry out on a regular, maybe even daily, basis. That reaction? The Maillard Reaction. This is a process that takes place whenever you cook a range of foods – it’s responsible for the flavours in cooked meat, fried onions, roasted coffee, and toasted bread. The reaction’s name is a little deceptive, because it’s really an umbrella term for a number of reactions that can produce a complex range of products. The main stages, and some of the different classes of products, are summarised in this graphic.

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This Week in Chemistry: Micromotors in Mice, & a Nanoparticle Cancer Drug

01/25/2015

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Here’s the weekly summary of both new chemistry research and studies that have been in the news. This week features a nanoparticle drug that prevents the spread of cancer in mice, the discovery of polymeric organic material on comet 67-P, and more. As always, links to further articles and original research papers are provided below, as well as further studies of interest not included in the graphic.

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The Chemistry of Highlighter Colours

01/22/2015
The Chemistry of Highlighter Pen Colours

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If you’re currently a student, then you’ll no doubt often make ample use of highlighters during revision. Even if your studying days are far behind, you probably still use them from time to time. But what are the chemicals behind their luminous colours? This graphic looks at some of the possible dyes that can be used.

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Major Classes of Antidepressants

01/20/2015
Major Classes of Antidepressants Summary

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You might have noted that yesterday was ‘Blue Monday’ – lauded as the most depressing day of the year. You might also be aware that Blue Monday was actually the construct of a Sky Travel marketing campaign several years ago, and is complete pseudoscience. Still, it seemed like as good an excuse as any to throw together this graphic, which looks at some of the different classes of antidepressants, and to discuss a little of how they work.

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This Week in Chemistry – Deep-Fried Graphene, & Metals from Sewage

01/18/2015

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Here’s the weekly summary of both new chemistry research and studies that have been in the news. This week features a method akin to deep-frying to create 3D graphene structures, a method of enhancing microscope images of tissues using a swelling polymer, and more. As always, links to further articles and original research papers are provided below.

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The Chemistry of Poisons – White Arsenic

01/15/2015
White Arsenic

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This graphic is the first in a planned series looking at the effects and chemistry of a range of different poisons. As such, it seemed appropriate to start with one of the most well known poisons: arsenic. Arsenic has been used by poisoners for centuries, primarily in the form of white arsenic, or arsenic trioxide, which this graphic focuses on.

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The Chemical Structures of Vitamins

01/13/2015
Chemical Structures of Vitamins

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Vitamins are an important part of our diet, but you probably haven’t given a great deal of thought to their chemical structures. This graphic shows chemical structures for all 13 vitamins; though there can be some variability in these structures in sources of the vitamins, these are generally representative. They perform a range of roles in the body; below is a brief discussion, and a look at the evidence for taking vitamin supplements.

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This Week in Chemistry: A New Antibiotic, & Flexible Implants for Paralysis

01/11/2015

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Here’s the weekly summary of both new chemistry research and studies that have been in the news. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard the news about a new antibiotic and its novel method of discovery, but there have also been stories about the potential of testosterone injections to slow the growth of prostrate cancer, and the mystery of nature’s missing structural red colours finally getting an explanation. As always, links to further articles and original research papers are provided below.

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Teixobactin: A New Antibiotic, and A New Way to Find More

01/08/2015
Teixobactin - The Newly Discovered Antibiotic

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If you’ve read any science news over the past day or so, you’ll have noticed it’s been dominated by stories about the discovery of a new antibiotic, teixobactin. There’s a reason that the scientific community is so excited by its discovery, but in truth, it’s the method which was used to discover it as much as the compound itself that’s drawn attention. Today’s graphic gives you a run-down of the key points.

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