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.
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.
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. This 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!