Chocolate; Theobromine and Caffeine


The featured molecules this month come from "Chocolate: A Marvelous Natural Product of Chemistry" by Ginger Tannenbaum. As discussed in the article, chocolate is a natural food and is a mixture of many chemical compounds; approximately 400 compounds have been identified in chocolate following fermentation and processing. During processing, a liquid called "chocolate liquor" is formed that is composed of about 55% fat, 17% carbohydrate, 11% protein, and most of the remainder is tannins and ash. Depending on its source, it may also contain theobromine, an alkaloid related to caffeine, in quantities ranging from 0.8% to 1.7%. Caffeine is found in lesser quantities. Theobromine and caffeine are both methyl-xanthines. Theobromine is a smooth muscle stimulant, while caffeine is predominately a central nervous system stimulant. When solidified, the liquor forms bitter (unsweetened) cooking or baking chocolate.
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Chocolate; Theobromine and Caffeine   
(Interactive Simulation (1))
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