Monday, August 26, 2013

my favorite organic molecule: caffeine

My favorite organic molecule would have to be caffeine. Without caffeine, I`d have a lot of trouble doing anything with my day before noon. Caffeine makes many people, including myself, more productive individuals, benefiting society as a whole. 
             Archeological evidence suggests that humans have been using caffeine since before recorded history. Coffee, one of the most popular sources of caffeine, originated in ethiopia. According to legend, a goatherder observed his goats becoming energetic and restless at night after eating coffee beans. After he ate some of the coffee beans, he experienced similar effects ( http://www.scienceofcooking.com/caffeine.htm).
            Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound, being present in many plant products such as tealeaves and coffee beans. Caffeine can also be synthesized artificially, which can be more cost effective than isolating the compound from a natural source. (http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-natural-sources-of-caffeine.htm)
            Caffeine functions by binding to, but not activating, adenosine receptors in the brain. This causes a decrease in adenosine, which in turn causes an increase in dopamine, creating a stimulant effect. (http://www.scienceofcooking.com/caffeine.htm)
            The caffeine molecule has the formula C8H10N4O2 , includes 4 double bonds, and consists 2 connected rings of Carbon and Nitrogen, as shown in the model I created with chemdraw, based off of the image on this webpage (http://chem242.wikispaces.com/Sabina%27s+Analysis+of+HNMR+of+Caffeine). I chose to use a skeletal structure, omitting the Hydrogen and Carbon for simplicity.

4 comments:

  1. The "Today Show" did a special on caffeine awhile back and they agreed with all the points you stated such as caffeine boosting mental focus and alertness. However, even though it isn't addictive it becomes a dependency to many. My co-workers who have tried to stop drinking coffee get horrible headaches if they don't have their daily cup. Luckily, these headaches can be avoided by not going cold turkey but stopping gradually. Some rare cases even show that too much caffeine can have cardiovascular effects that can cause death because it impacts the nervous system, heart rate, and blood pressure. These cases are also usually found with people who use caffeine pills versus those who drink coffee.

    (http://www.today.com/health/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-caffeine-1B601338)

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  2. caffeine, hands down, one of the best organic molecules. without it, many of us wouldn't make it through the day, let alone to our 8 am classes. Even the cavemen knew it was good!

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  3. This was my go-to choice for favorite molecule, but I didn't want to do something that had already been posted. I have a caffeine dependency, I can function without it, but I get headache and don't seem to move around as efficiently without it in the mornings. I see a lot of coffee containers in our lectures, so I am happy knowing that I'm not the only one that needs my cup'o'jo to get going in the mornings.

    However, I did not know that goats were the ones that led us to the discovery of caffeine. Praise goats.

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