Chemistry in its Element: Compounds

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  • Arrowroot crop in Bermuda
    Podcast

    Starch

    19 April 2019

    Inspired by a mention of arrowroot in Jane Austen's Emma, Mike Freemantle investigates how subtle differences in composition mean starch can be resistant dietary fibre or easily-digested nourishment.

  • Olive oil
    Podcast

    Aniline

    12 April 2019

    How an early synthetic dye chemical came to play a role in a mysterious disease outbreak in 1980s Spain

  • Plume of talcum powder
    Podcast

    Talc: Magnesium silicate

    5 April 2019

    Coating your naked body with powdered magnesium silicate may sound strange, but it's an important part of many bathtime rituals

  • Sea buckthorn berries and oil
    Podcast

    Tocopherols

    29 March 2019

    Mike Freemantle discovers sea buckthorn fruits also called 'beauty berries' because of their high concentration of tocopherols and tocotrienols, collectively known as vitamin E

  • Sommelier smelling wine and taking notes
    Podcast

    Trichloroanisole: Cork taint

    22 March 2019

    If you've ever been unlucky enough to experience 'corked' wine, then 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, or TCA was likely the chemical culprit

  • Cub scout surrounded by flowers
    Podcast

    Vinblastine and vincristine: Vinca alkaloids

    15 March 2019

    Kat Arney unearths a story of an overlooked female researcher in the search for the origins of cancer drugs found in plants

  • The Vasa, restored and on display at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm
    Podcast

    Polyethylene glycol or PEG

    8 March 2019

    The simple polymer that preserves and protects ancient artifacts, and saved a historical Swedish shipwreck from complete collapse

  • Feather pen, inkwell and letter
    Podcast

    Ferrous sulfate

    1 March 2019

    The iron compound that has been turning oak gall extract into indelible ink for centuries, but is now eating though our ancient manuscripts and musical scores

  • Development of soybean root
    Podcast

    Nitrogenase

    22 February 2019

    The mysterious enzyme that can beat the world’s biggest chemical process when it comes to breaking the dinitrogen triple bond

  • Funeral mask of the Pharoah Tutankhamun
    Podcast

    Lazurite

    15 February 2019

    A brilliant rich blue rock, prized in antiquity as a gemstone and a prominent pigment, lazurite is the basis of lapis lazuli, the original ultramarine paint and – as Brian Clegg finds – it even adorns Tutankhamun's death mask