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Aroma Chemistry Biochemistry

The Chemistry of the Odour of Decomposition

Continuing this week’s Halloween theme, today we’re looking at death – more specifically, the chemical agents behind the smell of it. Decomposition is an incredibly complicated process, but we do know a little about the chemical culprits behind some of the terrible smells as the body breaks down – so, what compounds are the must-haves […]

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Biochemistry Colourful Chemistry

The Chemistry of The Colours of Blood

Halloween’s almost here, which, for a large number of costumes, will require a liberal dousing of fake blood to complete the look. You probably already have a pretty good idea of the reasons behind the red colouration of human blood that fake blood mimics. However, red is not the only blood colour available – it also […]

Categories
Biochemistry Organic Chemistry

A Brief Guide to the Twenty Common Amino Acids

The proteins that make up living organisms are huge molecules, but they’re composed of tinier building blocks, known as amino acids. There are over 500 amino acids found in nature, yet, of these, the human genetic code only directly codes for 20. Every protein in your body is made up of some linked combination of these amino […]

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Biochemistry Colourful Chemistry

The Chemicals Behind the Colours of Autumn Leaves

With autumn looming on the horizon, the leaves on some trees have already begun the transition towards the vibrant hues of autumn. Whilst this change may outwardly seem like a simple one, the many vivid colours are a result of a range of chemical compounds, a selection of which are detailed here.

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Biochemistry

The Chemical Compositions of Insect Venoms

Insect venoms are complicated. Really complicated. You could be forgiven for thinking that it must be a relatively simple company of chemicals that makes up the painful sensation of a bee or wasp sting, but in fact a hugely complex mixture of all sorts of compounds – proteins, peptides, enzymes, and other smaller molecules – go […]

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Biochemistry

The Chemistry of Insect Repellents

With summer approaching, so too approaches the time to stock up on repellents for the seasonal onslaught of insects hungry for human blood. There are a number of different chemicals that are responsible for the repellent effects of the various sprays or creams available – and chemistry can also offer possible explanations for why some […]