New insights into the origin of life

A famous experiment in 1953 showed that amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could have formed spontaneously under the atmospheric conditions of early Earth. However, just because molecules could form doesn't mean ...

Cyanide-free gold goes into production

Australia is leading the charge towards greener and safer gold production with an environmentally-superior alternative gold recovery process technology, dispensing with toxic cyanide and mercury currently used in most gold ...

Detecting cyanide exposure

Cyanide exposure can happen occupationally or in low levels from inhaling cigarette smoke—or from being poisoned by someone out to get you. The effects are fast and can be deadly. But because cyanide is metabolized quickly, ...

Chemists synthesize ultrafast cyanide detector

Organic chemists at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania have synthesised a new material, which can be used as a detector of cyanides in water. In contact with cyanides it changes colour in half a minute – more ...

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Cyanide

A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic.

In organic chemistry compounds containing a -C≡N group are known as nitriles and compounds that contain the -N≡C group are known as isocyanides. Organic nitriles and isocyanides are far less toxic because they do not release cyanide ions easily.

The dye Prussian blue had been first accidentally made, it is presumed around 1706, from substances containing iron and carbon and nitrogen, and the (then unknown) cyanide was formed during the manufacture of the dye. An iron-containing compound was found in Prussian blue and named "ferrocyanide", meaning "blue substance with iron", from Latin ferrum = "iron" and Greek kyanos = "(dark) blue". When ferrocyanide was analyzed, removing the iron from the compound and from its name left "cyanide".

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