Friday, January 23, 2015

Discovery of theobromine by Woskresensky

Cacao or cocoa was a key beverage and spice for the Aztec and Mayan civilization. Its use during the Classic Period (250-900 AD) was well documented, but recent chemical analysis has now established its use as far back as 600 BC.

The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes (1485-1587 brought the cocoa back to Spain around 1528.

Theobromine, isolated in 1878 from seeds of the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, was found to be more effective than caffeine as a diuretic, while less stimulating.

Alexander Woskresensky in 1841 was first to discover alkaloid theobromine in cacao seeds. This nitrogenous and resembles caffeine in many ways without being fully identical to it.

Webster’s Dictionary defines theobromine a word first used in 1842 as ‘a bitter alkaloid’ closely related to caffeine that occurs especially in cacao beans and has stimulant and diuretic properties. Theobroma’s Greek translation is ‘food of the gods’.

In 1882 theobromine structure was discovered by Hermann Emil Fischer.
Discovery of theobromine by Woskresensky

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