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The Mystery about Cyanide Taste

Posted: March 31, 2013 at 7:38 am

What is potassium cyanide??

A chemical compound with the chemical formula KCN is commonly known as the Potassium cyanide. This is a colorless crystalline compound, highly soluble in water and is similar in appearance as that of sugar. Potassium cyanide is considered to be highly toxic in nature. Potassium cyanide is considered to be one of the most deadly compounds being discovered till date.

Production of Potassium Cyanide:

Potassium Cyanide can be produced mainly by treating hydrogen cyanide in the presence of a fifty percent of an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide. After that the aqueous solution is either evaporated in a vacuum or by treating the form amide in the presence of potassium hydroxide. On an average per year approximately fifty thousand tons of potassium cyanide are being produced all over the world.

Use of Potassium Cyanide:

Potassium Cyanide is mainly used for the purpose of electroplating, organic synthesis of a number of chemical compounds, gold mining and so on. In accordance with the large scale use of Potassium Cyanide, it is also used in smaller scale applications like in the jewelry manufacturing industry for chemical buffing and gliding. Other than those mentioned earlier, Potassium Cyanide is also used by the entomologists as it is an excellent killing agent, and it has the unique capability of causing minimum damage to the highly fragile specimens.

Mystery about Potassium Cyanide:

Since, the time of its invention, the biggest mystery that has been surrounded with Potassium Cyanide, is about the taste of it. Due to the fact that Potassium Cyanide is exceedingly poisonous substance and can cause death of a person in seconds, the taste of it has remained a mystery or a fact yet to be known to the world. Though, many researches and tests have been conducted to find the taste of Potassium Cyanide but none of them could come up with the appropriate result.

Different views about the taste of Potassium Cyanide:

There has been number of views among the scientists about the taste of the Potassium Cyanide, some of them are as follows:

· Since on hydrolysis of KCN, the resultant compound that are formed are KOH and HCN, which are strong base and weak base respectively, Potassium Cyanide is confirmed to be basic nature. Since at room temperature HCN is a gas which evolves and the solution is expected to have more KOH, so the taste of Potassium Cyanide is assumed to be bitter.

· Some, scientists who have died while finding the taste of Potassium cyanide, could only write the alphabet “S” before dying, so it is not conclusive whether it is sour, sweet or salty in taste.

Conclusion:

Though, a huge number of scientists sacrificed their lives in order to find the taste of Potassium cyanide, but it remained a mystery for long, until and unless a goldsmith from India named MP Prasad in an attempt to commit suicide with the help of Potassium cyanide could finally reveal the taste of Potassium cyanide. As per the suicide note of him the taste of Potassium Cyanide is very much acrid, that is irritatingly harsh and sharp. This fact about the taste of Potassium cyanide is approved by the World Health Organization and is marked as an extraordinary discovery in the field of science.

Source:
http://www.biotechblog.org/entry/mystery-cyanide-taste/

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith