Chopping Onions Makes You Cry

Chemistry, Food
[caption id="attachment_17235" align="alignright" width="480"] Purple onion.[/caption] You are about to prepare a delicious meal—a meal that requires you to slice or chop onions. Do you dread the task?  The act of chopping onions is simple enough, but you know already chopping onions makes you cry. Why? What can you do to avoid it? Let's find out. Chopping Onions Makes You Cry The chemical that comes from preparing onions is called a lachrymator. That word lachrymator is simply defined as a chemical that irritates the eyes, causing tears to flow. In fact, a purely gaseous lachrymator may be called "tear-gas." Yes, onions produce tear-gas: specifically, (Z)-propanethial-S-oxide (PTSO). Onions of themselves don’t cause a problem. It is the slicing and chopping of them, the damage inflicted to the cell walls, that causes…
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