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Food Chemistry

Why Can Beetroot Turn Urine Red? – The Chemistry of Beetroot

The latest of the food science graphics looks at the chemistry of beetroot. An unusual effect of beetroot is that it can cause ‘beeturia’, or a red colouration to the urine, after ingestion. This is a condition that only affects an estimated 10-14% of the population, so what are the chemical compounds behind it, and […]

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Food Chemistry

Why does Grapefruit Interact with Drugs? – The Chemistry of a Grapefruit

You may have heard of ‘the grapefruit juice effect’ – a range of medications recommend avoiding grapefruits or grapefruit juice whilst you are taking them, due the unfavourable interactions with the medication and the unwanted side effects this can cause. So, what chemical compounds cause these interactions?

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Food Chemistry

Sourness & Scurvy – The Chemistry of a Lemon

With it being Pancake Day tomorrow, it seemed like a good time to look at the chemistry of the humble lemon, and the compounds that give it its sour taste. Of course, citric acid is already well known – it even has its own E number (E330). However, a couple of other acid compounds are […]

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Food Chemistry

Why Can Coriander Taste Soapy? – The Chemistry of Coriander

I wasn’t aware of this until recently, being a fan of coriander myself, but apparently there are quite a few people for whom coriander (referred to as cilantro in the US) has a rather unpleasant soapy, or even metallic, taste. The cause of this has its roots in the chemical composition of coriander leaves – though, […]

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Food Chemistry

Toxicity & Aphrodisia – The Chemistry of Chocolate

With Valentine’s Day looming, it seemed an appropriate time to look into the chemistry of chocolate for the latest food chemistry graphic. In particular, here we focus on the two frequently referenced effects of consuming chocolate: its supposed aphrodisiac effect, and its harmful effects on dogs (and to a lesser extent, cats). The graphic gives a […]

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Food Chemistry

Why Does Asparagus Make Urine Smell? – The Chemistry of Asparagus

The latest food chemistry graphic looks at the chemistry of asparagus – specifically, why it causes the urine of some (but not all) people to smell. Over the past forty years several papers have been published on the subject, and several studies undertaken, to try and determine the chemical compounds responsible, and though there is […]