Che-mystry and chemical attractions.
Posted on May 17th, 2011

Dr Hector Perera UK

When a dummy female cockroach is smeared with the synthetic smell of a young female cockroach and placed in the middle of a deadly sticky glue paper, all sexually active male cockroaches get fatally attracted to the dummy. When they tried to get to her they get stuck and more come along to find this fatal attraction.

The subject chemistry is a sort of a mystery subject, one makes things or synthesise things but cannot see the actual molecular structure of a single molecule. A single molecule of an acid, alcohol or an ester cannot be seen but a collection of them can be seen, it’s somewhat mystery!

 Synthetic Esters

Esters are used in artificial fragrances or scents, as solvents in pharmaceutical industries, as industrial solvents for making fats, cellulose, paints and varnishes, and also used in making artificial food flavors that are added into food such as ice cream and sweets. Not only creatures like cockroaches but humans are also attracted to these artificially synthesised chemicals in food. I am sure you know some spices used to make a tasty chicken curry but when it is cooked, the mouth watering aroma is totally different to individual spices used in the process. Is this due reaction between spices with the chicken?

The Ancient Chinese people used incense and flowers to calm the nerves and soothe the body. The chemicals in the scents are thought to have a calming effect on the brain. Now you know why lovers give a single red rose on a valentine day.

The sweet smell of ripened fruits such mangos, pineapples, guavas, apples, bananas and other fruits are due to these esters. Often when we buy mangos, first we try and smell to see this ester smell because only the ripened has this sweet smell. During the Sinhalese New year one of the unforgettable rice pulling stuff is pickles or “achcharu”. This gives the sweet smelling ester due to a large number of esters formed in the mixture.

The sweet smelling nail varnish is due to the ester in the nail polish, so esters are quite familiar with our day to day life. Each ester has its unique smell and our minds are clever enough to identify most of these esters, similarly the male cockroaches cleverly understand the smell young active female cockroaches.
When we spray scents and colognes on to our bodies, certain chemicals in them easily get absorbed into the blood system through the skin because these scents are dissolved in aromatic organic solvents such as in different kinds of alcohols and esters.

Often certain sprays and colognes are sprayed under the tender parts of the skin such as under the chin, neck and underarms to keep a fresh smell, to hide the natural body smell. We know for fact that certain pain releasing balms and oils get absorbed into the skin so why not these scents and colognes get absorbed into the body?  It has been found out certain chemicals that are used in hypnosis are also added to some of these scents and colognes. I think they are added to trap the customers to persuade to buy them, no matter the price tag, just buy them as they are momentarily hypnotised.

Lunch time walk about

Imagine you walked into a large departmental store during your lunch break to do some window shopping. Then you think of buying something special to your wife for her birthday or for the forth coming wedding the anniversary. In very large departmental stores, very often there are plenty of sprays for free testing and the customers keep on spraying to test before they buy. Mind you, the whole area is full of volatile scents and colognes because so many have been trying or testing out, spraying them for free before they buy. All around the counters are full of young lady assistants smartly dressed and ready to serve and you cannot make up your mind where to turn. One of the busiest sales times is lunch time; they know these facts and readily waiting to catch the fish with bait.

Then a young lovely lady assistant, smartly dressed to kill, actually to sell with a touch of eye catching make up, with a broad enchanting smile  and asks, “Can I help you”, then you are already half hypnotised.  “Yes I am looking for a gift to my”¦” and you lost your words, “Your girl friend”? the assistant helps to fill in the missing words with a shy expressive face. Then you recollect your mind and say “No no to my wife” She comes to assist you and keep on spraying tiny amounts of two or three sprays then comes the, “sting”, “How about this one”? You get a dash on your hand but you are already full of so many odours but this one has some hypnotic chemicals as well. Your mind boggles, eyes ogles then you ask, “How much” but before you ask again, your mind is already made to accept, “Fifty five pounds for this small size but for you, I will give you a discount when you buy the special pack, one for the night and evening as well”. Chemically or mysteriously you are momentarily hypnotised, “You take the card”, “yes please” because you haven’t got enough cash. It reminds me the fate of cockroaches that followed the smell of female cockroaches. 

One Response to “Che-mystry and chemical attractions.”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Very interesting article by Dr Perera – thank you !
    So we must all be aware of the chemicals that react with our brains, the good, the bad & the very ugly.

    Quite apart form Esters, there is a very real chemical problem in the NCP region of Sri Lanka : What can be done about the dangerous chemicals in the ground water there which causes so much kidney damage ?

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