Raja asked in Science & MathematicsBotany · 9 years ago

How to describe a newly discovered substance?

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  • mejxu
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It belongs to the way, how researchers found/synthesized it.

    Sometimes people imagine a special molecule and look for methods to produce it.

    They will get a mixture, isolate the single interim stages from the desired finished product and check by analytic methods whether the substance is exactly what they designed. They know its chemical and structural composition and describe it according to the actual chemical nomenclature.

    Then they look for its physical and might be medical, poisonous etc properties and create a data sheet.

    Sometimes, if people want to merchandise it, a protected tradename is designed and registered.

    If researchers recognize that a special plant f.e. has particular properties, but nobody knows why, they produce different extracts - using water, ethanol, light petroleum, etc - and check, which one has the new detected property. Then they clean and isolate and test until they got a pure substance, showing this properties. This substance will get a number or a combination of characters and numbers, till they found the exact chemical and structural composition. Now it will get its proper chemical name, a general name with a correlation to the plant, it came from ( e.g. nicotine from Nicotiana tabacum, caffeine from Coffea arabica etc ), or sometimes a name, describing its properties, e.g. morphine from Morpheus, the god of sleep.

    After finding the physical data, they also issue a data sheet.

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