Categories
Biochemistry

The Chemistry of Slug Pellets

Slugs and snails are common garden pests, and gardeners often turn to slug pellets in order to fend them off. What exactly are those blue pellets made of, though, and can they pose a risk to other animals as well as molluscs? This graphic examines the compounds used, and their potential undesired effects, as well as […]

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 […]

Categories
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 […]