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Robert Stickles
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Camper English, your observations highlight an important consideration in making home extractions -- if you don't have a way of testing what you are extracting for either purity or identity (and I'm sorry, but "tastes bitter" and "looks brown" are not a good tests for *anything*) then you are driving blind into this. Proceed with caution. That said, there are a couple of possibilities for why the chinchona bark extract doesn't fluoresce and the pure salt does: The process for industrial quinine purification uses both extremes of pH and some pretty nasty solvents, plus some high temperatures -- so a straight aqueous extraction which most of the home methods describe is probably getting very little of the quinine-like alkaloids out of the bark. Using powdered bark increases the surface area and it's more likely people contract chinchoism because of the action of digestive enzymes and stomach acids on the cell wall of the powdered bark. So you basically lose the flavouring aspect of quinine in your drinks and end up flooding your system with unknown quantities of potentially toxic alkaloids later -- and there's not just quinine in chinchona! Not to put too fine a point on it but just because your dog survived eating chocolate one time doesn't mean he's immune to caffeine and theobromine, it just means you got lucky in that instance. That's the problem with anecodotal evidence and thinking along the lines that because it's a 'natural' extract that it's somehow healthier than a pure chemical. The Glassers are lucky that chinchonism (if indeed that's what they were experiencing, who knows?) was the only side effect and this would be a completely different article if someone had ended up dead. Quinine quantities are regulated in certain parts of the world not to opressively poop on your party but for reasons of safety with scientific study to back it up. Ok. Biochemical sermon over. Two other possibilities for why the extract doesn't fluoress: 1) Another component in the extract is interfering with the free ring electrons needed for the conversion of UV into visible light. 2) There are several isomers of quinine and at least one stereoisomer (mirror-image). it's highly possible that these isomers don't fluoress and that's what you have extracted. Age/season of chinchona bark harvesting may yield completely different alkaloid profiles and different chemical environments may make certain isomers more stable. This makes for some interesting reading:
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May 1, 2016