Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why does chopping an onion make you cry?

★Why does chopping an onion make you cry?★

Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes' lachrymal glands so they release tears.

The process goes as follows:

1. Lachrymatory-factor synthase is released into the air when we cut an onion.
2. The synthase enzyme converts the sulfoxides (amino acids) of the onion into sulfenic acid.
3. The unstable sulfenic acid rearranges itself into syn-ropanethial-S-oxide.
4. Syn-propanethial-S-oxide gets into the air and comes in contact with our eyes. The lachrymal glands become irritated and produces the tears.

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