THE FOUNDING FATHER OF BAD SMELLS

Hey guys! Good morning, afternoon and evening to all my fans around the world. Sorry for the wait. I was fishing for the only the juiciest of topics and information to share with you all and this one I am about to share, sure is juicy. As I was cruising on one of my favorite sites of all time, compoundchem.com, I stumbled upon some of Mr. Andy Brunning’s “chemistry of” infographics that I would love to share with you all. Guess what? Sulfur is the cause of bad breath! Therefore, I found these two articles, which may seem kind of mutually exclusive at first but do not worry, I will connect them together for you- or at least I will try.

The first infographic talks about eggs. Reminds me of dinner. The yolk of eggs are made up of calcium carbonate which seems to be found sea shells, chalk and all other fundamentally chalky structures and substances. The egg shell as we all know, even though some of us learn it the hard way, is very porous and has an average of 9000 tiny pores in it. This explains why it breaks so easily. This can be tested by simply dropping an egg on the floor. Don’t try this at home, more importantly my home because my mom will cut you if you drop anything from a drop of water to an egg on her shiny kitchen floor. The color of chicken egg shells tend to vary from white to brown but eggs from other avian species hover around the blue or green hues no wonder why the Vietnamese have the same word for blue and green. These color are made from byproducts of processes in the body. Brown comes from protoporphyrin, the byproduct of hemoglobin breakdown. Other hues like blue and green are made from oocyanin, the byproduct of the production of bile. White eggs do not possess any of the aforementioned pigments. Going a little deeper, the egg white or as that annoying science nerd calls it, albumen is made mostly of water, up to about 90%. The remaining 10% is made up of proteins designed to protect the chick in the egg from infections and also nourishes it. Unlike the albumen, the egg yolk is made of fatty acids. The color of the egg yolk comes from two carotenoid compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin. However, the chicken’s feed also influences the color its yolk. Foods like red peppers, capsanthin and capsorubin can make the egg yolk look more deep orange or sometimes even red!

When an egg is heated, the originally coiled long chains of protein is denatured and then a large 3D network of proteins forms by bonding with water. This is how it solidifies. Normally, the entropy in substances increases with increasing temperature. If this was the case, the liquid egg should has evaporated! But in this case, it is different maybe because of the water bonding with the egg or maybe there was a pressure reduction that caused the particles to cluster in packs to form solid. Hydrogen sulfide is guilty to all counts of bad smells in eggs. It is produced in increasing quantities as an egg gets older or is cooked for longer. It is contained in the proteins in the egg. It sometimes react with iron to form a green layer around eggs. Today, I had a record ugliest eggs on my thit kho tau because I just could not peel the shell off without taking away a layer of albumen. Apparently, this is due to the age of the egg. The older it is, the harder it is to peel. Boiling the eggs with baking soda helps.amanda

Talking about age, on my 18th birthday, my mum made me my favorite food, Fufu and peanut soup but with a little too much garlic. Well, let’s just say that my morning breath the next day is not something you would want to witness. The strong smell of garlic comes from the sulfur-containing carbon-based compounds known as sulfoxides. They are not directly responsible for the smell but give rise to the chemicals that do so. The smell only emerges if the garlic plant sustains any mechanical damage from animals. It is actually a result of a defense mechanism triggered by mechanical damage. This releases an enzyme that converts these sulfoxides into a whole new variety of compounds called thiosulfates. These compounds are very volatile (evaporates easily) which contributes their quick dispersal rates. The harmful allicin chemical in the garlic plant is not harmful to the host human but the byproducts of its digestion is well-known to be nasal torture to all and every animal, especially pets around the host. This is what is called garlic breath. If you love your dogs, please save the horror of your morning breath. . In addition to this, the wild garlic leaves are very similar to that of the other very harmful leaves that when ingested can cause serious health complications and sometimes even death. To all the wild garlic lovers, if one wants to get some wild garlic next spring, please rub the leaf for the garlicky smell first because life is beautiful.it

Furthermore, when this incident of bad breath happened to me, I sought to find the source of my trouble so I put my research googles on and this what I found out. When one sleeps and closes his/her mouth, the oxygen supply to the mouth is cut off by a lot so most of the reactions that occur in the buccal cavity (the mouth) are anaerobic. The bacteria that are involved in these reactions( yes, we all have bacteria in our mouths, actually there is more in your mouth right now than on the nasty toilet seat you always criticize for being too nasty) egest sulfur compounds and this is why we all have that nasty morning breath. Another important factor to bad breath is the amount of saliva in one’s mouth. Saliva contains oxygen so if your saliva production is deceased by drinking, smoking, and snoring, sorry but your breath will stink. herThis is why you get that white layer on your tongue when you wake up in the morning. It is a layer of sulfur compounds. Saliva is important because the oxygen in the saliva can also help facilitate more aerobic reactions that do not produce any sulfur compounds.

Knowing all this, these infographics reads like a prosecution attorney, in favor of eggs and wild garlic’s opening argument to prove that sulfur creates compounds that cause bad breath hence it is the founding father of bad breath. The attorney tries to exonerate eggs and wild garlic by saying that they are not to be blamed for their number one popularity factor; their smell. In the chemistry of eggs, it is stated that this oh so troublesome hydrogen sulfide is produced when sulfur-containing proteins in the egg white react during cooking. This can be seen as form of defense mechanism for eggs because like the wild garlic, the sulfur-containing compounds that smells so bad are produced when mechanical or physical damage is done to the egg or the wild garlic. The attorney was pleading self-defense for his clients! Good job Mr. Andy Brunning. Maybe you should go to law school in addition to your science career because this is pure talent. It is in your blood. This court proceeding does not look pretty for sulfur. Can anyone exonerate Mr. Sulfur please? Because despite this, he is the reason why you have paper, petroleum, detergents, pigments, storage batteries, insecticides amongst others so don’t be too quick to throw Mr. Sulfur in jail because everything with the potential for great evil also has the potential for great good.

To tie it all in, eggs and wild garlics are not to be blamed for their bad smells. They are just trying to defend themselves. It is okay to defend yourself sometimes. It is all the fault of sulfur so he is the culprit of the day. Well, this is all I have for you today. I know it is sad that I am leaving. You would rather I stayed to continue to tell you about my adventures in the world of science but I have to go. As they say, “Distance may the heart grow fonder so see you all later with some more juicy adventure stories!

 

 

 

THE OLYMPIAN PRESENTATIONS

Hey guys! I am back again with wonderful news from Olympus. Yeah Olympus, like where the Greek gods live. You don’t know Olympus? Looks like someone has been skipping Humanities class. Anyways, I have awesome news for you today. So I sleep on Wednesday night a mortal, and woke up the next day still mortal but in Olympus! Yeah, all the cool kids were invited and I am sorry if you didn’t get invited. Reading this blog can be considered a big step on the path of becoming cool like me. Back to my adventure, the goddess of chemistry, Dr.Hughes called upon all the great apprentice chemists to present on what they have learnt so far about the application of chemistry to real life activities from their masters. Lucky for you all, I got a front seat experience of everything that happened and I decided that telling my wonderful and beautiful audience about my top 3 presentations would be a cool thing to do.

The first apprentice whose topic caught my attention presented on how chemistry works in making pottery. To make a pot, a mold has to be made out of damp clay. Then you put it in a kiln. What is a kiln? It is mythical device that turned everything put it into stone. Just as some people like me who has not been missing hum class (throwing shade on those who have) may have suspected, it has Medusa’s head in there! I lied. A kiln is an isolated heat system when at work which is used for hardening, baking and to induce chemical changes in objects.

An isolated system is a system or in this case, a chamber which does not exchange energy or matter with its environment. It is can be opened to put objects in so it is only isolated when closed. The kiln in this case, was a trash can with fire in it. The fire in the kiln glazes the clay mold .This is where all the magic happens or you can say chemistry happens (yes, I said it, chemistry is magic).

This particular kind of magic is called oxidation-reduction or as it is popularly known a redox reaction. These reactions are amongst the most common reactions that happen in our surroundings. The kiln contains some metal oxides or metal carbonates like copper (I) oxide, silver oxide or cobalt (II) carbonate, copper (II) carbonate. Wonder why some of these names has roman numerals in front of them? No, they are not names of kings or queens either. Keep reading my blogs and you will get it. Oxidation is when an atom loses electrons in a reaction and reduction is when an atom gains electrons during a reaction. In the glaze, the copper ions (Cu+) are reduced (gain electrons) to their elemental state (Cu). The carbon atoms are oxidized into carbon dioxide (CO2). So when these reactions are combined (redox), copper and carbon dioxide. These chemicals condition the surface of the pot to give it its shiny and hard look and feel. She looked so confident because she made eye contact with everyone and that’s very key in presentations. Looking confident is imperative to people believing what you are telling them is fact. One thing I didn’t like was the font color of her presentation because it seems to blend into the background.

This presentation, however, interests me because of how we, as humans, take so many things for granted and barely seek to look beyond the horizon to see what is really going on. It has been common sense to me that when you put a piece of clay in fire, it is supposed to get hard now I know just how and why it gets hard and shiny.

Another fine apprentice chemist gave her presentation on glass and how it is used to solve murders at crime scenes. The pictures in her presentations were amazing. That is very good in presentations because it made it more interesting and it also helped me understand what she was talking about better. I will definitely do same in my presentations. Crime scene investigations series are my life. CSI Miami, CSI Los Angeles, CSI Boston, CSI Danville. 2 out of the four are lies but I guess you will never know. Anyway. I love those shows and so I know how things go down during and investigation and how glass plays into that. Glass is a very integral part of the investigation. It can help forensic scientists determine the positon of the shooter in a shooting scene, the time of the incident and even the kind of weapon that was used. They find all these information by analyzing the physical and chemical properties of the glass at the scene. Some physical properties like thickness, density, refractive index etc. are used to find the source of the glass because it is highly improbable that two sources of glass have the same quantity for all the aforementioned properties.

The chemicals used in glass can also influence its behavior. These chemicals are mostly oxides (compounds containing oxygen). These compounds account for the extent of elasticity of the glass. This helps mostly in shootings. This property helps forensic scientists to know the direction and position the shot(s) came from. They know this by checking and analyzing the fractures in the glass. There are two main kinds of fractures; radial and concentric.u

The direction and position can be measured by looking at the manifest of the radial fracture since it always form on the opposite side of the original position of the shooter. The number of bullets can also be determined from the number of fractures present on the original fracture because the fractures always form on each other. The concentric fracture forms next and encircles the bullet hole. It can also help with position of shooter because it forms on the same side as the destructive force. The size of the exit and entry holes of a bullet can also help them determine direction because the elasticity of glass causes it to blow back towards the destructive force.

This one is the what I found most interesting because it can help a lot of us win more cases in court or at least help us know our fate in the face of law. When car headlights are shatters while the lights are still on, it will form a yellowish-white substance called tungsten oxide. This is because the light in the filament of the headlights are not as result of anything burning but it is as a result of absorption/emission spectra. If you do not know what this is, look at my previous blog for more information on this. The electron of the tungsten in the filament get excited from the energy produced by the car and so they jump between energy levels and when they drop, they emit photons which is seen as light. Due to this, when the glass is shattered, the filament will react with the oxygen and break in half whiles the tungsten reacts with the oxygen to form the yellowish-white tungsten oxide. So just in case, you find yourself in a case when where you need to prove to someone that your lights were on when it was shattered, you can use this nicely constructed explanation( *pats self on the back*).

The last but not least of the presentations I found interesting at this symposium was the one about the chemistry of chocolate. A young vibrant young apprentice spoke on this topic. For your information, I do not like chocolate! I know my fans are freaking out and my coolness probably dropped a couple of energy levels in your atoms. I do not hate it either. I am just not a chocoholic. Cocoa comes from a tree called Theobroma cacao which translates to “Food of the Gods”. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans.h

Ghana, where I come from, has the world’s most quality cocoa and is the second highest producer of cocoa in the world. Chocolate has over 300 chemicals. Some of these are stimulants. They are caffeine and another less known one, theobromine. Others are anandamide and phenyl ethylamine. These chemicals stimulate your brain to release neurotransmitters that will make you feel good so this young apprentice called them ‘feel good’ chemicals. I love how bubbly this young lady is. It makes the presentation very interesting. I will try to do that when I present too. Chocolate also contains a group of chemicals called polyphenols, a subset of a larger group called antioxidants. These chemicals prevent oxidation. Oxidation creates free radicals which causes DNA damage and in turn Alzheimer’s and heart disease, also cancer. (Brain blast). Did I just say chocolate can lower the probability of cancer? Yes I did or at least that’s what I heard. So is chocolate the new healthy food? Maybe or maybe not. This is because with these great good things in chocolate, one-third of its fat is bad for the human body. Whereas pure chocolate maybe of great help to the body, the additives draw that curtain down a little bit.

So that’s it for today folks. Overall, it was a very interesting symposium and the apprentices were rewarded fairly for their prowess and knowledge they have acquire over time from their masters. The takeaway here is that chemistry matters in everything because chemistry is ubiquitous and life will be nonexistent without it. If you want to get invited to the next symposium, you should continue reading my blog and that will surely bring over the threshold of coolness. Trust me! Until my next blog, have fun and stay blessed.

WORK CITED

 

Chemical-free fairy tale

Hi guys! As we all know, this is my premier blog and due to this fact, I want to start with a very sensitive and controversial topic currently existent in the food, cosmetics industries etc. My sister always makes me tag along on her long weekend shopping. She always boast about buying “chemical-free” make-up and lip stick. I never gave much thought to that statement until recently. About a week ago, I was just going through my news feed on Facebook and for some reason, my news feed always have these very annoying ads that I have no interest in. There is so many of them but one particular one stack with me. It was an ad for a “chemical-free” acne face wash. I found this very interesting because the phrase “chemical-free” is totally fictitious. I however visited their site http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/diy-chemical-free-acne-wash/ to check it out. The site has chemical free written in bold capital letters on it. Nothing physical can be deemed chemical free and I will try to prove this to you with these three reasons.

First, if I learnt anything from chemistry class, it is that everything in the world is made of atoms. It is most basic form of matter. Atoms( which is Greek for indivisible) make up everything around us; trees, air, your pants/skirt or whatever you are wearing( hopefully you are wearing something), water, that annoying aunt you hate so much, your cat… literally everything you can think about is made of atoms. Some examples are Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Sodium (Na) etc. Atoms combine to make compounds. https://i2.wp.com/www.nature.com/nature/journal/v469/n7328/images/469026a-i3.0.jpgThink of this like when you meet someone you like so much and you want to be with them all the time so you two get surgically attached. I have got to admit that that is kind of creepy. My analogy creation powers are not on fleek so let’s keep it like that. Some examples of compounds are sodium nitrate (NO2), water (H2O), glucose (C6H12O6) etc. As long as the product is comprised of matter (anything that has weight and volume), it is not chemical free.

Anything that burns with a color is a chemical. The atoms are responsible for the color of the object they make up .They are made up of little tiny fast moving particles called electrons that move around a bigger particle called the nucleus. Atoms are like a very complex and large rotary with multiple lanes ranging from slow lane to very fast lane roads. These lanes are called electronic orbits or shells. The electrons are the cars on these roads and they can jump or fly (why flying cars? Why not?) In between lanes to suit the speed at which they are moving. For an electrons to move or fly in between lanes, it need to gain energy from heat, electricity or light to move to a higher, faster lane or lose energy to move to a lower, slower lane. When this happens, the vacancy needs to be filled by another electron so one has to lose energy to fill that and in doing so, they emit energy in the form of light. This is the science behind fireworks (the electrons gain energy through heat!). I bet all the “chemical-free” face washes will give off light when they burn thereby, they have chemicals in them. Good analogy. Props to me! (Pats self in the back).

When one reads the label of these “chemical-free” acne washes and cosmetics, there will always be a part that shows the weight and/or the volume of the product. As I said earlier, all matter has weight and volume and all matter is made of atoms. Atoms bond to make compounds used in making chemicals. Having this and chemical-free on the same thing is not great because then you basically have two opposing ideas on the same product and consumers (especially those who have time to search for “chemical-free products) need full confidence in the product.

I, however; totally understand why companies use the label “chemical-free” on their products. The word “chemicals” has evolved through time to be synonymous to “bad harmful substances”. I believe that this as a result of lack of chemical literacy among many cultures. Chemicals are ubiquitous and unavoidable. Due to this fear of chemicals in cosmetics destroying people’s bodies, the label “chemical-free” reassures the public that the products do not contain harmful substances. Food manufacturing and cosmetic companies should, instead of putting “chemical-free” on their products, invest money into educating the public about this misconception and bad use of the word “chemicals”. If these companies want to be free from the stigma of being a “chemical-full” company, education is the way; as George Washington Carver said, “Education is the key to unlock with the green door of freedom”. Farewell to all readers and come back for more juicy information on your favorite topics!