Molecule of the Day: Vanillin

Vanilla is one of the world’s most popular flavours, being found in ice creams to creme brulees. But what gives vanilla pods their characteristic creamy, sweet scent? That would be vanillin (C8H8O3), a white solid that is slightly soluble in water.

Raw vanilla pods do not have any vanillin in them; it is instead stored as a scentless glycoside (see below). However, after the pods are cured and treated, the glycoside breaks down to release the free vanillin, producing the wonderful scent that we all know and love. Vanillin is also one of the contributors to the scent of old books; over time, the lignin that comprises the fibres in the pages break down, releasing aroma chemicals such as vanillin.

The biosynthetic pathway for vanillin is unknown. It is produced synthetically on an industrial scale from guaiacol and glyoxylic acid instead, as the demand for vanillin vastly outweighs the natural supply. 

Vanillin is widely used as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, usually as artificial vanilla essence, as well as a perfume additive. It is also used as a chemical intermediate in organic syntheses.

Originally posted by butteryplanet

Honestly couldn’t think of anything for day 29, so here’s a shitty spaceship 

Still version bc I couldn’t find a gif editor that didn’t massacre the quality: