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The chemisrty in onions - Research Paper Example

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The chemistry in onions Name Institution The chemistry in onions The chemistry behind why onions make us cry Allium cepa locally known as the common onion or the bulb onions is widely cultivated and used as a vegetable. The onion is taken to be an annual plant though it is a perennial or biennial plant…
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Download file to see previous pages Some of these acids like the 1-propenesulfenic acid is acted upon by the lachrymatory factor synthase enzyme to produce a volatile gas known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide also referred to as onion lachrymatory factor. The syn-propanethial-S-oxide diffuses in the air and on reaching the eye; a stinging sensation is felt due to its activation on the sensory neurons (Block, 2010). The onion cells contain various different enzymes kept separate and upon cutting, the cells contents become free and mix with the acids kept in the onion forming volatile compounds. In the eye, a reaction occurs between the propanethiole S-oxide and the tears released from the tear glands forming a mild sulphuric acid stimulating rapid release of tears which in turn makes the situation more worse. The alliinase enzyme is responsible for breaking down onions compounds into unstable intermediates which either change into thiosulfinate or lachrymatory factor. Thiosulfinate is responsible for the distinct flavor and odor from the onions as well as converted into sulfur compounds that benefit the body by lowering the cholesterol levels, acting as anti-blood clotting, anti-asthma, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory. Research has confirmed that only one specific enzyme is responsible of causing the formation of the lachrymatory factor hence inhibiting it will stop crying and on the long run increase the thiosulfinate compounds yield. Several strategies ranging from laboratory research to local imaginations have been employed towards the production of tear free onions or the prevention of the lachrymatory factor from reaching the eyes by neutralizing it in the air. To start with, the New Zealand Crop and Food Research together with the Japan House Food Corporation in 2008 developed tear free onions aiming at less reaction and irritation to the eyes. The new variety, taste and look like the regular onions but the action of lachrymatory factor synthase enzyme is lowered through genetic alteration. The modification has been engineered through the production of genetically modified foods that have been said to contain the desired nutrients. Research refills that if onions are grown on sulfur deficient soils, the creation of lachrymatory factor and other sulfur compounds is reduced and sweet flavor enhanced. This is in relation to Vidalia; a brand of sweet onions (Imani, 2002). The local methods used in a daily basis include: Chopping onions while chewing gum. Though the method is not as certain to the expected results, less crying is evident but the coordination between keeping on chewing the gum as you cut the onions is tricky. At the end of it, less tears come out besides high levels of irritation. It has been found to be an easy and convenient method to use (Walter, 2006). The use of goggles is gaining popularity as it gives painless results. The goggles protect the eyes from the volatile gas hence no tears or stinging. They are easy and convenient to be used though it is an added cost and their tight grip causes uncomfortable moments (Dille, 1996). Another method fruitfully used is that of freezing the onions in the freezer for about 15 minutes before chopping. The temperature in the freezer is very low to an extent of inhibiting the onions from releasing chemicals that irritate the eyes. It is painless, no tears and irritation. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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