Synthetic mustard oil
3D model (JSmol)
|Molar mass||g·mol−1 99.15|
|Melting point||−102 °C (−152 °F; 171 K)|
|Boiling point||148 to 154 °C (298 to 309 °F; 421 to 427 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is the organosulfur compound with the formula CH2CHCH2NCS. This colorless oil is responsible for the pungent taste of mustard, radish, horseradish, and wasabi. This pungency and the lachrymatory effect of AITC are mediated through the TRPA1 and TRPV1 ion channels. It is slightly soluble in water, but more soluble in most organic solvents.
Biosynthesis and biological functions
Allyl isothiocyanate can be obtained from the seeds of black mustard (Brassica nigra) or brown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea). When these mustard seeds are broken, the enzyme myrosinase is released and acts on a glucosinolate known as sinigrin to give allyl isothiocyanate.
Allyl isothiocyanate serves the plant as a defense against herbivores; since it is harmful to the plant itself, it is stored in the harmless form of the glucosinolate, separate from the myrosinase enzyme. When an animal chews the plant, the allyl isothiocyanate is released, repelling the animal. This chemical has recently been shown to strongly repel fire ants, (Solenopsis invicta)
Commercial and other applications
- CH2=CHCH2Cl + KSCN → CH2=CHCH2NCS + KCl
The product obtained in this fashion is sometimes known as synthetic mustard oil. Allyl isothiocyanate can also be liberated by dry distillation of the seeds. The product obtained in this fashion is known as volatile oil of mustard and is usually around 92% pure. It is used principally as a flavoring agent in foods. Synthetic allyl isothiocyanate is used as an insecticide, as an anti-mold agent  bacteriocide, and nematocide, and is used in certain cases for crop protection.
- Mustard plaster, traditional home remedy
- Piperine, the active piquant chemical in black pepper
- Capsaicin, the active piquant chemical in chili peppers
- Allicin, the active piquant flavor chemical in raw garlic
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