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stas extraction method


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  • "'It is necessary,' Willcox said, 'to weight the different parts of the remains where it is supposed that an alkaloid might possibly be. Those are mixed up quite fine, and then placed in rectified spirits of wine. The spirits of wine is drawn off after twenty-four hours, and then what is left of the mixed up flesh is placed in another lot of spirits, which again is drawn off after twenty-four hours, and so on as long as the liquid which comes away is coloured—about five times. When the liquid ceases to get coloured we stop."

    He found that an alkaloid of some sort was indeed present, then applied a well-known process, the Stas extraction method, to pull the alkaloid from the spirit solution in pure form. He weighed each amount. This was precise work. He found, for example, that his sample of intestines contained one-seventh of a grain of the alkaloid, the stomach only one-thirtieth."

    —Erik Larson, Thunderstruck (New York: Crown Publishers, 2006), 351–352

    More on prussic acid and mydriatic.

    July 7, 2009