Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weird Science

If you were to traipse into the hills and borrow a cup o' corn squeezin's from Cletus Q. Hillbilly's still -- the natural sugars of the corn having been converted to alcohol -- and then stirred into the jug a squirt of Pseudomonadaceae bacteria culture, which oxidize alcohol to create energy ...

... then you would soon have yourself a sample of vinegar, the end result of little pseudo's hard work. Vinegar is very useful for many things.

Acetic acid is the principal component of vinegar. Play around with it chemically, to create a salt or ester, and you get another useful product, acetate, a type of plastic once used to make phonograph records. Tweak it another way and you get acetylene, an explosive chemical in much demand for welding.


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