Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pumpkin Seed Oil

What is pumpkin seed oil doing on a science blog? It turns out it has something in common with a histology stain I use all the time in lab. Eosin is a dye responsible for the pink stain you see on microscope slides. According to a recent study from Slovenia, both eosin and pumpkin seed oil are bichromatic. I've only experienced this with eosin, however. In its concentrated state, that dye is an iridescent green tinged with pink, but when it is diluted in alcohol for dipping slides into, it is a bright fuscia. And the end result is a robust pink. My experience with pumpkin seed oil is via my mother-in-law, a native Austrian and a chef by profession. Her recipes for this dark substance include tasting oil for bread and in salad dressings. I like it in small doses! According to this paper (featured in Science Daily) , liquids containing multiple perceived colors play upon the boundaries of perception of cone cells in the retina. Some cones see red, others, green and others blue, but perception occurs along a curve. Red cones 'see' a little bit of blue and green; they just specialize in red. I've never seen pumpkin seed oil as anything but black or green (that's a small cantor of it at right), but maybe that's because I only have one X chromosome. As usual, King of the Nerds has something to say about this, too. (Although his editors oversimplified a couple of his sentences!) I do agree with the Science Daily assessment of pumpkin seed oil as having
a strong characteristic nutty flavor.
Sort of like this blog.
Tip to Bora for alerting me of this important story.

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