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Author: Subject: Casein to Tryptophan
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[*] posted on 4-2-2011 at 15:19
Casein to Tryptophan

I read on wikipedia that I can hydrolyse 600 grams of casein (which I would obtain from milk) and get like 6-7 grams of Tryptophan.

Now, I read that I need for that H2SO4, HgSO4 (I don't want to mess with that yet) and alternative method is Pancreatin which I can't obtain. Now, is there some alternative route to that hydrolysis, maybe with just HCl or something easier to obtain?
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[*] posted on 4-2-2011 at 15:44

Have a look at the scale and you will realise just how much milk you will have to start from.
You are looking at a tremendous programme of work and a great expense.
I would have a rethink.
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[*] posted on 4-2-2011 at 16:26

As I recall, acidic hydrolysis gives lower tryptophan than does alkaline hydrolysis, and enzymic is better still. The HgSO4 is part of the isolation process, and it or some other method is needed no matter what the method of hydrolysis.

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4-2-2011 at 18:31

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[*] posted on 7-2-2011 at 20:39

Can't help with extraction but I would recommend starting with casein powder rather than milk. Unflavored casein is probably available at a supplement store or online (I personally use flavored casein as a protein supplement but without flavor means less potential contaminants)
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[*] posted on 8-2-2011 at 00:14

Yep, casein powder would be the way to go. You'd need to start with around 20l of milk otherwise, and then get the casein out of that.

I would seriously recommend avoiding anything involving mercury salts. Particularly if eating it is the end goal.

Mercury sulphate is not so bad in terms of it's toxicity, because it's has a terrible solubility in water. In fact, it decomposes to an insoluble sulphate and sulphuric acid.

The level of water solubility is always important when discussing toxicity, as our bodies are mainly water and so things that dissolve well in water are able to pass into our bloodstream much more easily. Mercury chloride will do this very well, which is why it's a lot more toxic than the sulphate.

I know this can be an annoying answer, being told to just buy it, but you can get pure tryptophan as a food supplement if you want the tryptophan for something other than doing the casein experiment.

I know people will eat tryptophan to help them sleep sometimes; if you consult the diagram at the bottom, you can see it's being turned into serotonin (something people usually associate with feeling happy and loved up) and melatonin (which has been found to be involved in triggering the circadian clock into putting us to sleep). Melatonin is also a free radical scavenger, making the waste product of the brain's metabolic cycle also good at cleaning up it's own mistakes.

It will also be converted to Niacin, which I tend to hear people complaining about for it keeping them awake. And I am sceptical, having eaten tryptophan myself, that it actually does much at all. You can't easily trick your body by just pumping more of something into it. The net result is that you usually end up weeing or pooing the rest out soon after; possibly damaging your liver or kidneys along the way.

Tryptophan was taken off the shelves at one point because a batch of it escaped the factory in Japan without being cleaned of the bacteria that were used to produce it, and people got sick. Everyone blamed the tryptophan it's self to begin with, but it was later discovered to be a processing problem.

5-HTP is sold in it's place quite often. Which is closer to serotonin in the metabolic cycle. I think it may cross over into the bloodstream better as well, but I can't remember off the top of my head.

You should be very careful eating tryptophan if you have taken antidepressants or used amphetamine based drugs within the last two weeks - mixing any of these with each other, you can end up feeling very sick, going temporarily a little insane and feeling sick, or dying.




I really like this image, as it shows just how resourceful the body can be even when dealing with just one thing;

[Edited on 8-2-2011 by peach]

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[*] posted on 9-2-2011 at 01:14

"going temporarily a little insane" Define a little insane ? Plus is it the good kinda insane like LSD, things changing color insane ? Or the bad insane like ingesting some of the contents of the chem lockers ? In my case I would hope I ingest the oral cyanide antidote before I get down to the cyanide (my solution is preloaded with white gold so my insides may end up all pretty if it precipitates out :D).
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