- Most Bitter Chemical – Denatonium
- How Denatonium Was Discovered?
- Uses of Denatonium
- More about Denatonium
- Watch a video about Denatonium
Most Bitter Chemical – Denatonium
Denatonium is the bitterest compound that has ever discovered. It’s usually called Denatonium Benzoate or Bitrex. The salts of denatonium are usually colorless and odorless solids. It is sold under the trade name of Bitrex®. The taste is so strong, however, that most people cannot tolerate a concentration of more than 30 parts per million of denatonium benzoate. Solutions of denatonium benzoate in alcohol or water are very stable and retain their bitter taste for many years. Exposure to light does not lessen the compound’s bitter taste.
How Denatonium Was Discovered?
It was discovered accidentally, when Macfarlan Smith of Edinburgh, Scotland study on local anesthetics in 1958.
Scottish pharmaceutical company was experimenting with the anesthetic lidocaine. It is often used in those gels which can help cool the pain of a sunburn. And most frequently used by the dentists and doctors because injecting lidocaine makes a small area of the body totally numb.
The researchers were trying to find out something better than lidocaine by adding benzyl group to the lidocaine. But ended up with something different compound known as denatonium. It is not a better numbing compound but turned out to the most bitter compound ever discovered.
Uses of Denatonium
It is commonly added to toxic liquids to deter people and pets from drinking them. For example, to methyl alcohol (methanol), bathroom cleaner, shampoo, soap, rat poison, nail polish remover, and antifreeze.’
The bitter-tasting compound is added to insulation to prevent rodents from chewing on wiring. It’s also used in products applied to skin/fingernails to help keep people from biting their nails or sucking their thumbs.
More about Denatonium
N, N-diethyl-2-oxoethanaminium benzoate
|Molecular mass||446.58 g/mol|
|Melting point||166-170 Â°C|
|Boiling point||xx.x Â°C|
|Disclaimer and references|
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