Tuesday, June 14, 2022
HomeChemistryDiuretics and the tyres of the long run – Compound Curiosity

Diuretics and the tyres of the long run – Compound Curiosity

Infographic on dandelion chemistry. The left side of the graphic details some of dandelion's medicinal uses, including as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidative. Polyphenols and sesquiterpenes are responsible for many of these and are also responsible for the bitter flavour of dandelion leaves. The right side of the graphic details rubber extraction from Russian dandelions. Bike tyres made from dandelion rubber are now commercially available and consumer tyres are expected to follow within the decade.
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Dandelions: Beloved by kids, loathed by (most) gardeners. Usually dismissed as a weed, dandelions lend themselves to a number of makes use of — and is likely to be the answer to creating extra sustainable automotive tyres.

The dandelion goes by many names throughout languages and colloquialisms. The English title comes from the French ‘dent-de-lion’, a reference to the tooth-like serration of the leaf edges. A number of languages make related reference, whereas some names check with different traits of the plant. However, circling again to French, ‘pissenlit’ is the frequent title for dandelions. This interprets to ‘piss within the mattress’, a reference to dandelion’s supposed diuretic properties.

A diuretic is one thing that will increase your physique’s manufacturing of urine. Caffeine, present in tea and low, is a weak diuretic, and alcohol is one other instance. Proof for dandelion’s diuretic properties is combined and restricted, regardless of its use in conventional medication for hundreds of years. One examine discovered it to have a comparable diuretic exercise to the diuretic drug furosemide in mice. One other restricted examine in people, which used self-reported knowledge, additionally discovered a diuretic impact. Nevertheless, most research have been in animals, with restricted knowledge for people, so it’s exhausting to say what the scale of dandelion’s diuretic impact is likely to be.

Due to this uncertainty, it’s unclear which compounds in dandelion is likely to be accountable. Some dialogue factors to flavonoids and chlorogenic acids, however the analysis is simply too sparse for any clear perpetrator to emerge. What we do know is that, if dandelion is an efficient diuretic, it’s obtained a key profit: its potassium ranges. Dandelion greens have increased ranges of potassium than these present in bananas. That is helpful as a result of a problem with some diuretics is that they’ll trigger low potassium ranges. Even when dandelion doesn’t itself have a diuretic impact, given with current diuretic medication it might keep potassium ranges.

Investigation of dandelion compounds goes past simply figuring out in the event that they make you wee extra. Analysis has recognized anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidative actions, primarily as a result of polyphenol and sesquiterpene compounds. These compounds are additionally answerable for the bitter flavour of dandelion leaves. And when you’ve discovered that your pores and skin will get a bit irritated or itchy after weeding dandelions within the backyard? It’s the sesquiterpene lactones which might be partly guilty, as they’re recognized to be contact allergens.

Whereas pulling up dandelions, it’s possible you’ll discover the sticky white liquid that seeps out of their damaged stalks. This liquid accommodates pure latex, from which we will get rubber. The dandelion’s root accommodates many of the latex. The amount in frequent dandelions is simply too low to make large-scale extraction sensible, however a relative, the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz) accommodates increased portions.

Rubber from dandelions isn’t a brand new discovery. Throughout World Struggle II, rubber shortages led a number of nations to make use of dandelions for rubber manufacturing. In 1941 30% of the USSR’s rubber got here from the Russian dandelion. However as quickly as rubber from its major supply, the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), was accessible once more, curiosity in dandelion rubber waned.

Now, although, efforts to extract and use rubber from dandelions have reemerged. That is partly as a result of issues concerning the sustainability of rubber from the rubber tree and its skill to satisfy future ranges of demand. Rubber bushes solely develop nicely within the tropics, and the land required for this results in deforestation. Russian dandelions might be grown in a a lot wider vary of climates, making scaling up dandelion rubber manufacturing a practical prospect.

Since 2014, Continental, the German tyre producer, has been pursuing the manufacture of dandelion rubber tyres. As of 2019, they’ve marketed bicycle tyres with a tread made solely from dandelion-derived rubber. They’ve additionally examined tyres for business autos and automobiles. They estimate that dandelion rubber tyres for automobiles will likely be accessible by the top of the last decade. One other tyre producer, Goodyear, has introduced plans to provide dandelion rubber, initially for navy planes however doubtlessly increasing to shopper autos sooner or later.

The very best a part of all that is that the Russian dandelion might be simply grown in most climates — so you may have a go at extracting rubber from it your self. This Science in Faculty article presents a few totally different strategies for doing so. Whilst you’re unlikely to have the ability to extract sufficient rubber in your personal tyre, it’s a enjoyable exercise to disclose the rubber hidden within the plant’s roots.

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