Vegetable soup chemical reactions

March 5, 2007

Chemists working on tight budgets in developing countries may be able to substitute extracts of potatoes, celery, eggplant, carrot, cassava, horseradish or an array of inexpensive and locally available vegetable products for the costly reagents traditionally needed for chemical reactions, a new study suggests.

In a review scheduled for the March 23 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication, Geoffrey A. Cordell at the University of Illinois at Chicago and colleagues in Brazil explain that the high cost of imported reagents — substances used in chemical reactions — is a major problem for such academic, chemical industry and pharmaceutical laboratories in developing countries. Their report describes how some of the more than 7,000 vegetable crops grown throughout the world can be used as substitutes for commercial reagents in laboratory work.

“The evaluation of locally available vegetables, fruits, common plants, and natural waste products for a selection of standard organic chemical reactions of commercial significance could prove to be a very valuable economic endeavor,” the report notes. “It may well offer new opportunities to expand the role of natural products as sustainable chemical reagents where high-cost, nonrenewable reagents are presently used.”

Source: American Chemical Society

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