Category Archives: Molecule Monday

Molecule Monday features various chemicals in the news & typically includes a video of the molecule as a stereo pair.


Aspartame Sweetener
Made from Amino Acids

Aspartame has been in the news again. Pepsico, which dropped aspartame from its diet Pepsi formulation over a year ago has reintroduced it. The motivation to remove it was driven by the bad press aspartame had received over the years which was thought to have impacted sales. It turns out that the aspartame version has a loyal following which persuaded Pepsico to backtrack. For more on what the controversy is all about…
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Cholesterol: Steroid and Hormone Precursor

Food and drug ads have likely made you anxious about your cholesterol levels but the health of your blood vessels is only part of the story. Did you know that testosterone, progesterone  and performance enhancing steroids are all essentially different versions of cholesterol? You can try to avoid them in your diet all you want but you can’t eliminate them from your body without disastrous consequences.

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Miracle Medicine; Maybe?

THC-Medical Marijuana Miracle Drug?

Marijuana has been enjoying a renaissance of late. Once reviled as a gateway drug to heroin to name but one, it is being rehabilitated as a panacea for ailments ranging from anxiety to Alzheimer’s. With jurisdictions around the world including Canada & the US verging on legalization, is the hype justified?  Continue reading

Crab Nebula

Super Heavy Metal Armor for Iron Man,
Captain America, The Enterprise?

Some elements you never heard of were given new names this week.  Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, were named  nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson respectively. These elements were all synthesized in carefully designed experiments using sophisticated particle accelerators.

You’ll never see them on food labels or traded as commodity metals. In fact, they are so short lived they last just long enough for scientists to confirm they briefly existed.

Does that mean the miraculous metals of science fiction are impossble? Will there ever be a Vibranium of Captain America’s shield or the Duranium and Tritanium of Star Trek’s Enterprise? Will science find a way to make something like them? First, a brief survey of the elements we know and how they came to be.

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Dandelion-A common weed.

Glyphosate (RoundUp) + GMO Go Hand in Hand

GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods and the science behind them is a matter of concern to some people. But, it appears to be a technology that is here to stay. For example, many modern pharmaceuticals such as insulin are produced by genetically modified bacteria. (1)

Glyphosate, better known as RoundUp, is a popular herbicide used primarily in agriculture to control the growth of weeds but in fact will kill most plants. Important food crops such as canola, soybeans and corn have been genetically modified to survive glyphosate and are known collectively as RoundUp Ready.

An overview of this chemical and the GMO technology it entails is explored.

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Rhubarb’s in Season
Beware the Oxalic Acid

If you’re an environmentally conscious sort, it’s quite possible you have made salad with dandelion greens.  Unfortunately, if you try the same thing with rhubarb, you might get a serious case of upset stomach or worse. Rhubarb leaves shares a common trait with common foods such as spinach and broccoli which of course are their edible parts.

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