Categories
Biochemistry

Peonin and the colour of peonies

Peonies bloom fleetingly at the end of spring and start of summer, usually only lasting around 10 days. Inspired by this tweet from Dr Jess Wade, here’s a quick look at the molecule which gives them their colour. There’s more on the pH dependence of anthocyanin colour here.

Categories
Biochemistry

The chemistry of tulips and tulip fingers

‘Tulip fingers’ might sound like a bizarre floral-themed version of Edward Scissorhands, but it’s actually a condition that can be caused by skin contact with tulip bulbs. It’s common amongst workers in the tulip industry, whose jobs involve sorting and packaging of tulip bulbs. This graphic takes a look at the compounds behind the condition.

Categories
Biochemistry Food Chemistry

What makes eggs glow under UV light?

Here’s something to try over the Easter weekend: take a UV light and shine it on some eggs. You’ll be rewarded with a red glow from their shells. What causes this red glow? That’s what this graphic looks at!

Categories
Biochemistry

Do daffodils kill other flowers in vases?

Spring is here, and daffodils are blooming. You might have some in your garden, or you might pick some up at a florist to put in a vase at home. If you do, it’s a good idea to place them in a vase on their own – there are chemical reasons why daffodils and other […]

Categories
Biochemistry Medicinal Chemistry

What links snowdrops, Alzheimer’s disease, and chemical warfare?

Snowdrops and chemical warfare aren’t two things you’d expect to mention in the same sentence. However, there’s a surprising link between the two thanks to a compound found in these winter flowers. This graphic looks at this compound and how it helps treat both Alzheimer’s disease and nerve agent poisoning.

Categories
Biochemistry Biology

National Blood Donor Month: Blood type compatibilities

January is National Blood Donor Month. If you’ve ever donated blood (or received blood from a donation) then you might have wondered why some types of blood can’t be given to some people. And what is it that makes blood types different anyway? This graphic looks at the compatibilities of different blood types, and below […]