Marketers berry the data

CHEMFUSION

“Blueberry” is a magic term these days when it comes to marketing. Supermarket shelves brim with blueberry yogurts, muffin mixes, waffles, juices, and even blueberry pills — all with...

Read More >>

Sizing up the science of sweet

CHEMFUSION

We would like to have our cake and eat it too. In a sense, that is just what non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and stevia promise. Cut out sugar, a dietary villain, and replace it with a non-caloric sweetener and reduce your chance of putting on the pounds!

Read More >>

Dangerous chemicals lurk in holistic medicine

CHEMFUSION

Divide some laboratory rabbits into three groups. Feed one group normal rabbit chow, the second group a high-cholesterol diet and the third a high-cholesterol diet supplemented with 0.2 percent curcumin. After eight weeks take blood samples, sacrifice the bunnies and examine their aortas for atherosclerotic deposits. That’s a typical animal experiment to test the potential...

Read More >>

The fancy fast-food wrapping that gets a bad rap

CHEMFUSION

We feel a bit guilty biting into a hamburger, pizza or hotdog. They comfort the taste buds but not the body, with all the fat, salt, cholesterol and various additives. There is another issue: fast-food packaging. The hamburger is wrapped in some form of paper, fries come in a cardboard container and pizza is delivered...

Read More >>

The Canadian discovery that sparked a global industry

CHEMFUSION

On May 4, 1892 Thomas Willson, a Canadian inventor, placed some calcium oxide (lime), coal tar and aluminum oxide in a container and heated the mix to a high temperature. Willson was hoping to produce metallic aluminum, an expensive commodity at the time. The thinking was sound. Coal tar — basically carbon — was known...

Read More >>

Magnets attract not only metal but gullible people

CHEMFUSION

Magnets are fascinating. Imagine the amazement of the ancient Greeks who discovered that some naturally occurring stones, later named magnetite because they were found in the region of Magnesia, attracted iron. The stones also quickly attracted superstitious beliefs. Magnetite was said to have the ability to heal the sick and frighten away evil spirits. Archimedes...

Read More >>

Chemistry career sparked by the sting of capsaicin

CHEMFUSION

My early years were spent in Hungary so it should come as no surprise that my first venture into the world of chemistry involved paprika. Bread smeared with goose fat was a popular childhood delight, always topped with a sprinkling of paprika. No worries about cholesterol back then! One day, however, I got a spicy...

Read More >>