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Molecule of the Moment
How well do you know your molecules: Why do plants make vanillin? What makes sourdough bread sour?
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A host of big food brands, led by Nestlé, have vowed to use only naturally-produced flavors in products marketed in the U.S. But because less than 1% of vanilla flavoring in current products comes from actual vanilla orchids, now there’s a shortage of natural vanilla.
Why do plants make vanilla?
San Francisco is famous for its sourdough bread. The bread is made with a “starter” of bacteria and yeast found naturally in the air and cultivated in a paste of flour and water.
Which fermentation-produced acid is responsible for the sour flavor in the bread?
Vinpocetine is marketed as a dietary supplement to enhance athletic performance, boost memory, and help weight loss.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced in the fall that it wants to reclassify the compound as a drug in part because it is:
Chemists recently created this heterocyclic carbon sulfide compound.
What is the nickname for this class of molecules?
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for mechanically interlocked molecules and molecular machines.
Which of these is an example of a mechanically interlocked molecule?
Since 1999, overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids have more than quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Which of these is not an opioid implicated in overdose deaths in the last year?
This year’s Priestley Medalist, Tobin Marks,
is famed for developing a series of organolanthanide and -actinide catalysts used commercially to produce billions of kilograms of which class of products?