A human brain preserved in a jar of formaldehyde (CH2O). Formaldehyde is a crosslinking fixative and acts by creating covalent bonds between proteins in tissue. This anchors soluble proteins to the cytoskeleton, and lends additional rigidity to the tissue. Additionally, it acts as a disinfectant, killing most types of bacteria and fungi.
Coumarin is a chemical compound which is found naturally in some plants, although it can be synthetically produced as well. It has a distinctive odor which has led people to use it as a food additive and ingredient in perfume. Due to concerns about coumarin as a potential liver and kidney toxin (LD50=275 mg/kg), its use as a food additive is heavily restricted, although it is perfectly safe to eat foods which naturally contain the compound.
Coumarin’s chemical name is benzopyrone and it is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a precursor molecule in the synthesis of a number of synthetic anticoagulant pharmaceuticals similar to dicoumarol, the notable ones being warfarin (tradenamed “Coumadin,” not to be confused with coumarin) and some even more potent rodenticides that work by the same anticoagulant mechanism.
Diethyl azodicarboxylate, conventionally abbreviated as DEAD and sometimes as DEADCAT, is an organic compound with the structural formula CH3CH2O2CN=NCO2CH2CH3.
DEAD is an orange-red liquid which weakens its color to yellow or colorless upon dilution or chemical reaction. This color change is conventionally used for visual monitoring of the synthesis. DEAD dissolves in most common organic solvents, such as toluene, chloroform, ethanol, tetrahydrofuran and dichloromethane but has low solubility in water or carbon tetrachloride; the solubility in water is higher for the related azo compound dimethyl azodicarboxylate.
Diabolic acids are actually a class of compounds where the m and n chains can have different lengths and can contain unsaturation. They were named after the Greek diabollo, meaning to mislead, since they were particularly difficult to isolate using standard gas chromatography techniques. One of the inventors, Prof Klein, also thought that they had ‘horns like the devil’.
Lucifer Yellow (C13H10Li2N4O9S2)
It is a fluorescent dye used in cell biology. The key property of Lucifer yellow is that it can readily visualized in both living and fixed cells using a fluorescence microscope. Lucifer yellow was engineered by Walter W. Stewart at NIH and patented in 1978.