DEC 19, 2018 11:39 PM PST

The Most Bitter Chemical?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

The most bitter compound known is denatonium-- it was discovered in 1958 by Macfarlan Smith of Edinburgh, Scotland during a research study on local anesthetics. The salts of denatonium are almost always colorless and odorless solids.

The bitterness of the compound has guided many of its applications in denatured alcohol, antifreeze, nail biting preventions, animal repellents, liquid soaps, and shampoos. Interestingly, despite its bitterness even in astoundingly small concentrations—denatonium is not known to be harmful or pose any long-term health risks. However, exposure is obviously unpleasant and can be irritating.

Watch the video above to learn more!

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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