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Q: chemistry of vanilla oil?

  1. Jan 3, 2006 #1
    I'm going to do a project on "The chemistry of vanilla oil".
    But I'm really confused about the content of vanilla oil.
    Could anyone tell me something about that?
    And are there any good experiements could be done to investigate vanilla oil?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2006 #2
    Vanillin, an organic compound also known as { 4-Hydroxy-3-Methoxy-Benzaldehyde }, is an important constituent of the vanilla bean.
    (Im assuming your talking about oil from the vanilla bean?)

    As it is an aldehyde it will react by oxidization to form a carboxilic acid, by addition of a slurry of [tex]Ag_2O[/tex] in an aqueous solution of ethanol.
    The reaction is actually quite complex, but if done correctly it should form products of Ag(s) and Vanillic-acid.

    You may want to reasearch a bit more into the processes involved, especially if your not experienced with organic-chemistry. Any recently printed introductory organic-chem text should have info on this reaction, or at least, info on the Oxidization of Aldehydes to Carboxilic-acids.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with the project.
  4. Jan 3, 2006 #3
    Thanks for the information!
    Is it possible to synthesize artificial vanilla flavouring essence in a secondary school lab.?
    Or how to extract vanilla oil from the vanilla pod?
    And are there any methods to detect the presence of SO2?
    Since the vanilla oil is dark in colour(and the artificial one is usually added the colour E150d), so using I2 to test for the presence of SO2 seems impossible.
    Are there any other methods? Or is it possible to remove the colour(both the natural one and the artificial one)?
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #4
    Yes, it is possible to extract oil from vanilla-beans, much the same as any 'essential' oil is extracted.
    You may want to look into the processes involved here.

    Yes, it is possible to form artificial flavourings in a lab.
    These are known as esters, and are formed by a process of Esterfication.

    For your other questions, you need to look at the properties of what it is your trying to remove/detect. Are they polar or non-polar compounds? Do they from precipitates on reac with another reagent? What are bp/mp?
    Once you know the answers to questions like these, then the rest will come.
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