The Chemistry of an Onion

Chemistry Onion

The latest in the series of food chemistry graphics looks at the chemistry of onions – specifically, what causes their odour, and why chopping onions will make your eyes water. Interestingly, none of the compounds that cause these effects are present in the intact onion; rather, when the cell walls of the onion are damaged by chopping, an enzyme released produces a range of compounds as a defence mechanism, which act as irritants.

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Element Infographics – The Lanthanides

The Lanthanides

This graphic looks at the elements known as the lanthanides – the ones stranded at the bottom of the periodic table, along with the actinides. For a group of elements that doesn’t really get much attention in chemistry teaching until at least undergraduate level, their applications are remarkably widespread and varied. Most modern electronic devices rely on rare earth elements in some part of their construction, so it’s remarkable that the average person on the street will probably have little to no knowledge of their importance.

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