This week’s compound is so bitter (a thousand times more so than quinine) that it’s used to stop people drinking alcohol. Discover denatonium benzoate - the bitterest compound in the world – in this week’s Chemistry in its element  podcast.

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I bet many of you have used this ingredient of bath salts in your undergraduate chemistry labs. Discover magnesium sulfate in this week’s Chemistry in its element  podcast.

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Vancomycin – the drug of last resort for treating resistant bacteria – was isolated from soil taken from the Borneo jungle. Find out more in this week’s Chemistry in its element  podcast.

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Be careful with that drink! Brian Clegg looks at the chemistry behind chloral hydrate – the knockout drops in a ‘Mickey Finn’ – in this week’s Chemistry in its element  podcast.

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Oh no! It’s nitrogen dioxide (ONO). Find out about the chemistry behind this rocket oxidant and urban pollutant in this week’s Chemistry in its element  podcast.

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Iron hexacyanoferrate gave artists the (Prussian) blues. And they loved it. Laura Howes paints a picture with (almost) a thousand words in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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Do you long to be a superpower? Do your friends on the world stage look down on your military strength? Does your lack of second strike capability make you feel inadequate? You need a nuclear deterrent. Better get yourself some uranium hexafluoride and this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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cartoon grim reaperOnce sniffed, never forgotten. That’s many people’s verdict on the smell of death, for which putrescine is partly responsible. You might have to hold your nose while listening to this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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Toothpaste on toothbrushUsed on the million-tonne scale in domestic products from toothpaste to self-cleaning windows, this material is more than just a white pigment. Phil Robinson tells us how titanium dioxide brightens up our life in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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The saltpetre men of the 17th century could be described as the first biochemists. But they could also be described as a ‘rowdy and undesirable’ lot, hated and feared for the disruption and distress they caused in their search for their precious namesake. Lars Ohrstrom tells the story of potassium nitrate in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

 

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