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Author: Subject: Putrescine Oddness

Posts: 12
Registered: 26-9-2017
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[*] posted on 31-12-2017 at 23:40
Putrescine Oddness

First of all, I wish you guys a happy new year! May your flasks stay intact and your chemicals stay pure!

I just attempted a larger scale production of really crude putrescine via the destructive distillation of ornithine HCl mixed with sodium carbonate and some weird stuff is my procedure:
Step 1: 50.0g of ornithine HCl and 50.0g of sodium carbonate were mixed together in a bowl and then funneled into a 500 mL retort. I greased the joint with H2SO4 thinking it would save me from the didn't do anything for the smell at all...
Step 2: A "sand bath" was prepared using motor oil cleanup clay pellets (I was unable to locate actual sand) and an old stovepot and the retort was buried halfway into it to prevent cracking during the heating process.
Step 3: The burner was turned on high and the distillation began.
Step 4: Because I was stupid I tried using propane in below freezing temperatures so I changed out a tank thinking it was empty due to the fact that the gas no longer came out...maybe ignore this step...
Step 5: I insulated the retort with aluminum foil to hopefully speed up distillation and I also put a wet (soon frozen) cloth over the retort arm to aid in condensation as there were a lot of fumes coming out instead of condensing.
Step 6: I took the retort off as soon as the mixture stopped bubbling and became a giant black charred mass.

From this I got about 20 mL of oily yellow liquid that smelled like roasted broccoli. This is where things began to get weird, for as soon as I transferred the liquid to a small bottle for storage and later purification (it's phenomenally late here) it began to separate out, leaving an oily layer on top and a yellow layer on the bottom (see pic below). I decided to clean my glassware with HCl in order to stop the putrescine from volatilizing and so when I added the HCl to the retort it unsurprisingly bubbled due to the sodium carbonate left over, but I noticed a heavy white smoke forming at the same time. I tried adding HCl to the receiving beaker after I had transferred everything into a bottle and I got fizzing and a white smoke, which perplexed me as there shouldn't have been carbonates in the receiving vessel, just putrescine and other stuff that had come over...the other weird thing I noticed was that the light yellow solution suddenly became a dark red color upon addition of the acid and both of the layers disappeared. I do not have any clue what this red solution could contain, and I have no idea what gas may have been produced when the HCl reacted with the receiving beaker's residue. I would appreciate any hypotheses put forward regarding what I may have produced and if I should have to worry about anything other than the smell of putrescine in this situation...

Here are some pictures of various stages of my production of putrescine and the odd blackish-red solution I have now:

20180101_002547.jpg - 1.6MB 20180101_003730.jpg - 1.3MB 20171231_231837.jpg - 1.7MB

I don't often make chemistry jokes, but when I do, I usually get no reaction.
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Hazard to Self

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Registered: 26-6-2017
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[*] posted on 1-1-2018 at 07:01

Perhaps the hydrochloric acid could have decomposed the putrescine and maybe leftover ornithine to a mixture of complex organic molecules, hence the colour?
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International Hazard

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Location: Dysrope (aka europe)
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[*] posted on 9-1-2018 at 12:16

in case you just want a foul smelling liquid to splash onto yourself on mondays you could try heating up minced meat with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate, the impure distillate should contain an amount of putriscene.

~25 drops = 1mL @dH2O viscocity - STP
Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.
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