Categories
Biochemistry

Crocus chemistry: Saffron, colours, and poisonous imposters

Did you know that saffron is obtained from a type of crocus? This is a fact that had somehow escaped me, and which I only discovered when wondering why saffron contains a compound called ‘crocin’. Turns out that, yes, there is a connection!

Categories
C&EN Medicinal Chemistry

A short history of antiviral drugs – in C&EN

COVID has generated unprecedented levels of interest in antiviral medicines, but they’re just the latest in a long line of antivirals going back almost 70 years. The latest edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical & Engineering News looks at some of the key drugs, from the first antiviral to be approved to antivirals for HIV […]

Categories
Food Chemistry

How do plant milks compare to cow’s milk?

For plant milk manufacturers, business is booming. In 2021, 32% of British people surveyed drank plant-based milk as part of their diet, compared to 25% in 2020. How are these milks made, and how do they compare to cow’s milk when it comes to their environmental impact and nutritional value? This graphic takes a look.

Categories
C&EN Medicinal Chemistry

A brief history of anaesthetics and how they work – in C&EN

Surgery has become a lot more comfortable since the first demonstrations of ether anaesthesia in the 1840s. In October’s edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical & Engineering News, we looked at the different types of anaesthesia, the compounds involved, and what we know about how they work. Click through to the C&EN site to view […]

Categories
Biochemistry Chemistry in the News

What is folic acid, and why is it important during pregnancy?

This week, the UK has confirmed it plans to fortify non-wholemeal flour with folic acid. It’s not the first country to do so: the United States has been fortifying flour with folic acid since 1998. Most countries in South America and a number in Asia also have mandatory fortification programs. This graphic looks at the […]

Categories
Biochemistry

Dahlia colour chemistry: Why don’t we see blue dahlias?

Dahlias: the jewels of the late summer garden. Shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, with their petals forming intricate geometric structures. But, like roses and many other flowers, the dahlia spectrum is missing one colour: blue. So why are blue blooms so rare in nature?