Saturday, October 07, 2006


What does the word *ORGANIC* mean to you?

If you are an arty farty type - it could be a curvy shape inspired by ‘natural’ forms. Or it could be a type of shampoo.

*ORGANIC* is a 'goody' word, unlike additive, chemical or synthetic which are 'baddy' words

But to a Chemistry student it means a particular branch of Chemistry.

ORGANIC Chemistry is about the compounds of carbon. There are millions and millions of them. Of the 112 elements carbon is unique. When you study chemistry you will find huge fat books on organic chemistry and just a pamphlet on the compounds of all the others put together.

Once upon a time it was believed that these ORGANIC compounds only came from living things, in other words only God could make them…. Until in the late 19th Century a chemist called Wohler heated ammonium cyanate (definitely inorganic) and it changed into UREA (definitely organic). Everyone’s body makes urea as you know.

The God botherers were not pleased.

The chemists went frantic and synthesised dyes, medicines, fibres, pesticides, flavourings, plastics, fuels, perfumes etc. etc..

And did they get a word of thanks? NO! ‘Chemical’ is a baddy word as well.

Any synthetic ‘chemical’ you come across is likely to be ‘ORGANIC’. This includes all the additives on the dreaded labels - 59 of them in a McDonald’s strawberry milkshake.

DDT (the best known organic pesticide - 4,4'-(2,2,2-trichloroethane -1,1-diyl)bis(chlorobenzene) is ORGANIC, so are paracetamol and polystyrene.

Confusing eh?

But of course most people now see the word ‘ORGANIC’ and assume it means pesticide and additive free.

Recent headlines suggest the definition of *ORGANIC food* is a bit flexible.

Check before spending your money.

This is for my K9 friend Murphy it’s an organic squirrel cake (honest) for doggies. Save a piece for Oz.



Blogger The Murphmeister said...

I'm deeply touched, Kaz. I wonder if I could be paid in squirrel cakes now I'm a celeb?

PS my word verification was "baykbyt" so that seems approriate

5:55 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Don't mention it Murph.
My word verification contained the word 'Oz' - you need to watch your back!
Sorry about the Chemistry lesson.

7:24 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

My friend's into biochemistry. I don't understand what he does.

I just remember the O level as being multiple choice. I was bloody hopeless but I passed. I like multiple choice exams.

9:10 pm  
Blogger Gary James said...

I thought the word 'organic' sounded faintly sexual. It made me giggle. Thanks for the info though - organic food for thought.

8:56 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

geoff: You mean you didn't have to draw those diagrams with delivery tubes, thistle funnels and beehive shelves?
I'm surprised you did multiple choice for O level - some people think they are dead hard as there's no opportunity for 'waffle'.

gary: Well, if you're into curves I suppose organic could be sexy. Or a bad typist like me could easily make it orgasmic of course.
And some people think Chemistry is sexy.

9:19 am  
Blogger stitchwort said...

Wasn't it the Cheshire Cat who said that a word means what you want it to mean? The food industry certainly agrees with that.
Sometimes it's hard to make a choice between "organic" stuff and the alternative "inorganic" items.
Word verification is yuubu - sounds like a pre-biotic yoghurt drink. And does anyone know what pre-biotic means? It ought to mean "before it's alive", which doesn't seem very appealing.

1:05 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Stitchwort: Speaking chemically, I think the only 'inorganic' thing that we eat is SALT (sodium chloride).

But when it comes to items labelled 'organic' we rely on trust.
The word has no definition.

Pre-biotics - not a clue!
Geoff's mate the pre-biochemist might know

5:56 pm  
Blogger The Murphmeister said...

Isn't it pro-biotic yoghurt? The type that plays in golf tournaments with am-biotic yoghurts such as Parky, Brucey etc?

(word verif: drug wn - spooky)

6:17 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

I believe the term applied to foodstuffs is using the older definition of organic.. ie: derived from a living organism.

Extended to meat or dairy products hence presumably it means the animal was fed on same rather than manufactured feedstuffs (or neat DDT). ;)

7:08 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

murph: Well yes - but pre-biotic does exist. It does the warm up before the tournament.
In the case of Brucey and Parky this can take some time.

nic: Unfortunately the only thing we can rely on being 'organic' is the neat DDT!
Organic, organism and, especially, orgasm can be a bit difficult to define sometimes.

3:20 pm  
Blogger The Editor said...

In the culture of the"New Ignorance" nobody knows what they're on about anyway. Such is the beauty of loose definitions.

8:51 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Hi Editor: Welcome home!
'Ignorance is bliss' - but exploitation thrives on it. Yeh?

7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they do organic rodent cake for cats?

11:24 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Hi sleepless - just found you lurking down here.
Somehow Organic rodent cake hasn't exactly got the same wholesome tone.
How about 'organic hamster cake for cats'?

8:46 pm  

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