Strychnine (Is for NMR lovers)

Strychnine is a well-known poison and detective novel trope with a moderately low LD50 (ca 10mg). You find it more often in NMRs these days.


NMR jocks love strychnine for some reason. It is a pretty good example of a molecule with a hard-to-solve structure that NMR quickly dispatches - see this PDF for some background. I don't get why it always seems to be around in NMR rooms, though - there's the rack of about 40 standards and forgotten samples (who is leaving all these tubes behind?), one of which contains enough strychnine for a decade of Agatha Christie novels - these are those concentrated 2D samples. I guess they use them for training?

Interestingly, tannic acid apparently complexes strychnine, forming a precipitate, and it was once used as an antidote (presumably only in the case of recent ingestion).


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10 mg? I'm impressed. I think NaCN is less toxic than that.

It's interesting that you say NMR jocks are keen on strychnine...when I was chemistry student, way back when, strychnine was one of the first structures I built when I got a plastic ball and stick modelling kit. Don't recall ever doing the NMR spectra on it though.

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By chemist_2008 (not verified) on 23 Aug 2008 #permalink