Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Various Popes...Or Possibly Other Kinds of Benedicts

In the past couple of days, we've been mixing various foods with Benedict's solution and iodine to observe what kind of sugars (saccharide units) were in each.

Now, I'm not the kind of guy who likes "Well, it works that way because it does!" I prefer to know everything possible going on in a reaction such as this one.

So, I tried to go a little deeper. Although I'm not quite perfect on the details yet, I'm pretty sure I have the general idea.

Benedict's solution is nothing but a copper sulphate (Cu+2) mixed with alkaline solution. When a simple sugar is heated, it loses an electron, which goes into the copper. This reduction makes the copper Cu+1. Now, it can react with oxygen to create copper oxide, creating the orange-ish color that indicates the presence of a mono-or-di-saccharide. I guess that might not have been very in depth, but hey...close enough?

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