from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In chem., an albuminous or caseous substance found in the white part of both sweet and bitter almonds, and making up about one quarter of their entire weight.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun rare The white milky pulp or extract of bitter almonds.
- noun An unorganized ferment (contained in this extract and in other vegetable juices), which effects the decomposition of certain glucosides.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun dated, biochemistry A mixture of
enzymes, extracted from bitter almonds, once used to hydrolyze glucosides
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But emulsin is a diastase and has the property of breaking up amygdalin, liberating hydrocyanic acid, which is one of the most virulent toxic gases known.
Thus if an animal that has been given amygdalin is then injected with emulsin, hydrocyanic acid will be formed in the blood stream and death will take place at once.
Animal subjects survive an injection of either amygdalin or emulsin.
Bitter almonds contain two substances: amygdalin which is harmless and emulsin which is harmless too.
Yet injected separately, neither the amygdalin nor the emulsin has any effect.
One of those who ascertained new, relevant facts was, surprisingly, Liebig himself who in a masterly study, carried out jointly with Wöhler, on the decomposition of amygdalin into oil of bitter almonds and sugar by an apparently protein-like substance occurring in almonds which they termed emulsin, established a typical case of a very extensive series of catalytic phenomena, i.e. enzyme actions.
Mitscherlich, more especially, have shown that yeast imparts to water a soluble material, which liquefies cane-sugar and produces inversion in it by causing it to take up the elements of water, just as diastase behaves to starch or emulsin to amygdalin.
We know that Liebig regarded yeast, and, generally speaking, any ferment whatever, as being a nitrogenous, albuminous substance which, in the same way as emulsin, for example, possesses the power of bringing about certain chemical decompositions.
In the presence of emulsin, amygdalin is decomposed into glucose, hydrocyanic acid and benzoic aldehyde, and reformed from them.
M. Paul Bert, in his remarkable studies on the influence of barometric pressure on the phenomena of life, has recognized the fact that compressed oxygen is fatal to certain ferments, whilst under similar conditions it does not interfere with the action of those substances classed under the name of SOLUBLE FERM.NTS, such as diastase (the ferment which inverts cane sugar) emulsin and others.