Molecule of the Day

When you mix bromine with another molecule that has a carbon-carbon double bond, the bromine can add across the double bond.


The bromine atoms are very heavy – about 80 times as heavy as a hydrogen atom, or 7 times as heavy as a carbon atom. Bromination usually gives you a molecule that has higher density than the parent molecule.

Vegetable oil – which has a density of about 0.9 grams per milliliter – can be made as dense as water (i.e., 1 gram per milliliter) by adding the right amount of bromine.


Brominated vegetable oil can give an emulsion in water that is opaque and visually pleasing – it turns up in all kinds of opaque sodas and sugar/sport drinks. Is it OK to ingest bromine? Just about everyone gets away with the small amount he takes in from the occasional soda, but it’s definitely possible to ingest too much – awhile back, there was a case of a person who drank as much as a gallon a day of BVO-containing soda. Turns out, he got bromine poisoning!


  1. #1 azmanam
    May 7, 2010

    Good to have you back blogging on a regular basis. I’m glad I still had the RSS in my feed reader ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. #2 Rough
    May 7, 2010

    Jeeze! “2 to 4 liters per day” doesn’t sound so far out of the range of normal consumption. I always thought that “brominated vegetable oil” sounded dangerous – now I KNOW it is!

  3. #3 shane
    May 7, 2010

    I’ll second the “good to have you back”.

  4. #4 brook
    May 8, 2010

    third it.

  5. #5 chemoptoplex
    May 19, 2010

    Good to see you back

  6. #6 saรง ekimi
    July 12, 2010

    Hi all;
    A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

    Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

    Instead we get this “Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!” (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

  7. #7 prz
    July 18, 2010

    Isn’t bromination stereospecific? If so why did you draw wavy bonds?

  8. #8 Katherine
    July 27, 2010

    I just found this blog and love it! But it’s not daily, like the title promises. Any chance it can be?

  9. #9 Ed
    August 6, 2010

    Would brominated oleic acid be considered a saturated fat?

  10. #10 Jordan
    August 8, 2010

    wonder how easy it would be to make. Sounds like you could just mix bromine water and veggie oil ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. #11 mded
    August 16, 2010

    do we have this kind of soda on store shelf today?

  12. #12 jj
    August 21, 2010

    2 to 4 liters a day is normal consumption? Really? If you’re drinking that much soda a day I think you have worse problems. It’s all sugar.

  13. #13 reveillon
    August 29, 2010

    Bromine poisoning, what would be the effects of that thing! I bet that he wasn’t keen to drink soda after that!

  14. #14 plus profilo servisi
    January 16, 2011

    There is no attempt made nor desire extant to libel or otherwise cause malicious damage, loss, public contempt, defamation

  15. #15 organic chemistry
    February 25, 2011

    great example of formation of a vicinal dihalide for the undergraduates. I am going to use this in my lectures. thanks alot

  16. #16 Tony Ward
    July 19, 2011

    so how come that no ones concerned about the ingestion of alkylating agents (which alkyl bromides are) which are potentially genotoxic. Have these things been tested?

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