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March 1, 2013

Organic chemistry teaching

Dear Reader,

It has come to my attention that Lieutenant John Pike did something to make the neurotoxin in chilli peppers become something of public interest.

About the chilli peppers, now I am sure that some of you will be interested to know how pepper spray is made. I see two routes to making pepper spray. Either super strong chilli peppers could be grown and then processed to make the active ingredient for the sprays, or the active ingredient could be made by means of an organic synthesis.

If we look at the structure of the neurotoxin in chilli peppers (capsaicin) we will see that it has some functional groups in it. What you should do is to look at the final product and think of what bond you could break to form two smaller fragments (synthons). The two smaller synthons should be things which you can easily get reagents for.


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