Explosives: Nitrogen-Containing Fulminates

Chemical explosives are unstable¹ solids (occasionally liquids) that decompose rapidly, releasing large quantities of gas. The sudden volume increase pushes violently against whatever contains the explosive, reducing it to shrapnel and releasing a thunderous noise. Many explosives are nitrogen-containing substances, such as trinitrotoluene (TNT), nitroglycerin, and the picrates. Additional historic explosives include the fulminates, and yes, fulminates contain nitrogen as well. The most famous fulminate is mercuric fulminate, officially named mercury(II) fulminate. Its chemical composition is, Hg(CNO)2 It consists of one mercury atom and two atoms each of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. In greater detail, it can be written, Hg+2(C≡N=O)2 or Hg+2(C≡N+–O-)2 Do Fulminates Remind You of Other Chemicals? Perhaps the anionic fulminate ion, –CNO- reminds you of the cyanate anion, –OCN- or isocyanate anion, –NCO? And well it should,…
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Sulforaphane in Shepherd’s Purse: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-bacterial

Medicine, Plants
[caption id="attachment_16649" align="alignright" width="480"] The shepherd's purse or poor man's pepper.[/caption] In 2014, the Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology reported the results of a study on the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). The study spotlighted two compounds formed from the interaction of two other compounds found within the plant, glucoraphanin (a glucosinolate) and the enzyme myrosinase. When these two substances contact each other, they produce raphanin and sulforaphane. It is the sulforaphane (1-isothiocyanato-4-methylsulfinylbutane) that particularly displays the desired properties. Shepherd’s purse is not alone in producing this interesting substance. Others in the same family (Brassica) include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels’ sprouts, kale, and collard greens. The most common way glucoraphanin and myrosinase are brought together to produce our anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial is by chewing! [caption…
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