UNVEILING THE CULPRIT IN THE ONION THAT MAKES YOU CRY UPON SLICING AND DICING LACHRYMATORY FACTOR SYNTHASE

Engr Hira Kausar

UNVEILING THE CULPRIT IN THE ONION THAT MAKES YOU CRY UPON SLICING AND DICING LACHRYMATORY FACTOR SYNTHASE

Onion being the most extensively used ingredient in food restaurants are a big source of vitamin A, B6, C and E also it’s a big source of folic acid. It is a most versatile vegetable found in almost every recipe from breakfast to ethnic cuisine. The production of onion around the world is approximately 105 billion tons per year. Libya has the highest consumption rate of onion with an average of 66.8 pounds per capita of consumption.

We have advantages of onion to our health too

Onion reduces the possibility of developing gastric ulcers by scavenges free radicals.

The leaves of green onion are rich in vitamin A

A compound name as Querticin helps to prevent cancer.

Onion has a wide role in reducing inflammation and healing infection.

“It’s hard to imagine civilization without onions.” (Julia Child)

Did you know?

Flavonoid in onion are responsible for many health benefits are more concentrated in the outer layer of the bulb so try to peel as little of outer skin as you can else you will lose benefits of flavonoids

Lachrymatory factor evolve as a defense mechanism protecting onions against microbes and animal like us .When you slice or dice an onion noticed a burning sensation produced in your eyes and the running of tears down your face. It’s all because of the chemical lachrymatory factor which is an irritant that brings tears in your eyes by stimulating lachrymal glands

Each cell in the onion contains a vacuole filled with enzyme alliinase when cell structure is broken than this enzyme converts amino acid sulfoxide to sulfenic acid which is transformed by another enzyme called lachrymatory factor synthase to syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It’s a volatile Sulphur containing gas that easily diffuses into the air and finds their way to eyes. Your cornea detects its presence and stimulates the lachrymal glands to produce tears in order to dilute syn-propanethial=S-oxide.

LACHRYMATORY FACTOR SYNTHASE:

Allinase was shown responsible for this tears production but now it has been discovered that a new enzyme lachrymatory factor synthase is the real culprit because inhibiting allinase will lead to destruction of lachrymatory factor and other flavour compound called thiosulphanate, whereas inhibition of lachrymatory factor synthase through genetic modification prevent the synthesis of lachrymatory factor making no tearful eyes keeping the flavour intact. Inhibiting lachrymatory factor synthase increase the yield of thiosulfinates because all the sulphur compound release from onion will convert into thiosulfinates .so the onion lacking this enzyme activity will retain the odour and flavour like fresh onions.

TACTICS:

Chunk an onion in the fridge or submerge it in water during chopping. The reaction will slow down upon reduction of temperature, producing less lachrymatory factor. In water, LF gas will dilute, becoming less potent to eyes.            

      “My eyes smell onions: I shall weep anon.”

– “All’s Well that Ends Well” by William Shakespeare

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