hiimjosephfink said: Why does mint feel cold and chiles feel hot?
So, the way we experience…pretty much everything is via proteins and ion channels. Very basically…there are proteins that are designed to sense certain things….the presence of sugar, whether they’ve been struck by light, the concentration of CO2 in the blood. When they sense those things, they open an ion channel changing the electrical charge of the cell, which then get transferred through the nervous system to the brain where that area of the brain is like “Cool…we’ve got sugar…or light…or too much CO2 in the blood.”Well, sometimes these proteins can be fooled. A chemical will, just by chance (or by natural selection) be able to bind with that protein and cause that whole cascade to occur without the real stimulus. This is what happens with menthol in mint and capsaicin in peppers. Those chemicals bind to the cold / hot receptors respectively, fooling your body into thinking that something cold / hot is happening in your mouth. Pretty cool.-Hank
Honey is a food oddity in that it doesn’t spoil. Here’s the chemistry behind why, as well as an explanation of how bees make honey: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-qn
Today’s graphic considers the different chemical compounds in lipstick - including a compound commonly found in chilli peppers, and a pigment derived from scale insects.
Read more & see a larger version of the graphic on the site: http://wp.me/s4aPLT-lipstick
Your daily dose of Myoviridae TEM images:
Here’s a nice picture of some Myoviridae phage which infect Salmonella. Generally in the phage world, there are three more common families although others have been found:
- Siphoviridae with long flexible tails. (P2 above)
- Myoviridae with long contractile tails (T4 above)
- Podoviridae with short non-contractile tails. (P22 above)
Phage are first classified based on their morphologies, but bioinformatic information shows the relationships between the families. Typically families of phage are grouped on their appearance as a large amount of the phage genome goes into making the structural proteins.
Myoviridae are quite interesting in the sense that when they bind their host, there are large visible structural changes in the tail region. The tail sheath contracts and the DNA is transported from the head into the bacterium. Other less visible mechanisms are present in the other two morphology types too.
If you can’t beat ‘em, confuse ‘em.
What I do when relatives I don’t want to upset start spewing anti-science nonsense.
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My summer research is finally coming to an end. Hopefully I can write up some results soon and get this crazy looking network onto a poster to present.
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Molecule of the day videos are here! Watch my face talk about diborane.
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