Napoleons Buttons (

In December of 1812, Napoleon's army consisting of 600,000 men was marching toward Russia. His Forces up until this time had been unmatched and undefeated. One reason for the downfall of unstoppable French army was army uniforms themselves. All of the army's clothing, spanning from the highest general to the most lowly private, had tin buttons sewn on to their uniforms. When exposed to the bitter cold, as Napoleons army encountered in Russia, tin disintegrates into a fine powder. Was the army, as their buttons and uniforms fell apart, so weakened by the cold that it could not function? Were men using their hands to hold together their garments instead of carrying vital supplies? Could the disintegration of something as small as a tin button led to the downfall of one of the greatest armies throughout history? (Le Couteur & Burreson 1-19)

Most historians believe this explanation of Napoleon's defeat to be unlikely, but this theory demonstrates the extent to which everyday elements and molecules and their properties could affect and change the course of history. Napoleon's Button's explores 17 molecules that had a vast and profound effect on history.(Le Couteur & Burreson 1-19)

Ch. 1: Peppers, Nutmeg, and Cloves

Black Pepper (left) (

Peppers, nutmed, and cloves were an essential motive for exploration and expansion during the 15th century. These spices were highly valued and enjoyed by an elite class of royalty and aristocrats throughout Europe. (Le Couteur & Burreson 19-35)
Spices, such as pepper, were so highly valued because they disguised the taste of roting, or spoiled meat. The active ingredient as well as the reason for the hot taste of pepper is Piperine (C17H19O3N). The shape of the piperine molecule is able to fit into a protein on the pain nerve endings of our mouth mouths which explains the hot taste of pepper that so many have enjoyed. (Le Couteur & Burreson 19-35)
Likewise, the active ingreident in ginger is Zigerone (C11H14O). Zigerone is the third molecule with similar molecular shape to piperine (the 2nd being capsaicin) that produces the much sought after hot flavor. The reason we have the desire to eat spicy and hot foods is not only to desguise the taste of spoiled meat, but because it causes an icrease in saliva production, stimulates movement of food through bowels during digestion, and the painkilling natural chemicals, endorphins, are realeases in our brain and provide us with a happy feeling. (Le Couteur & Burreson 19-35)
Both Cloves and Nutmeg are very similar in shape, but are classified as different molecules. Nutmeg is classified as an isoeugenol compound. Isoeugenol compunds are compounds that plants use as a nautural insectiside against predators. Nutmeg in particular was believed to repel the the Black Plaugue because of it characteristiclly repeled disease carrying fleas. In contrast, Cloves are eugenols. (Le Couteur & Burreson 19-35)

Ch.2: Ascorbic Acid

Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C

During the Age of Exploration, scurvy was an ever-present problem. Scurvy was cause for more death at sea than all other causes, including the total number of deaths from naval battles, piracy, shipwrecks, and other causes. Scurvy is caused by an Ascorbic Acid deficantcy. Abscorbic Acid is better known by its more familiar name, Vitamin C. Ascorbic Acid is not produced naturally in the body because humans lack gulonactone oxidase, the enzyme necessary for the final step of the production of vitamin C. Therefore, we must get or daily supplies of Vitamin C from our food. Ascorbic Acid also affects the production of collegen, which is responsible for skin's firmness and elasticity. Ascorbic acid had an influence on the course of history by directly affecting where ships had to stop, because of the need for fresh fruits to prevent scurvy, and therefore, dictating which islands were to be discovered, and which islands were not. (Le Couteur & Burreson 36-53)

Today, Ascorbic acid is used mainly as an antimocrobial agent for the preservation of food, as a preventative measure against the common cold, cancer, and scurvy, as well as an antioxidant.(Le Couteur & Burreson 36-53)

Ch.3: Gluclose

The Brain (right) uses glucose as an energy source. (

Glucose is an important because it is a large component of sugar. During the age of Exploration, sugar was one of the many things that caused and supported the slave trade. The harvesting, and processing of sugar from the sugar cane was a labor intensive process that required many slaves to work in the plantations of the Caribbean and Latin America.

Glucose is the most common of the monosaccharides, or simple sugars. The structure of Glucose is a straight chain in which Oxygen, Hydrogen, and hydroxide molecules are bonded to carbon molecules. The Human Body, in particular, the Brain, uses glucose for energy. Neurons are dependent on a second to second supply of glucose from the bloodstream for their energy as they do not have any energy reserves. If blood glucose levels fall below 50% of the normal level, symptoms of brain dysfunction occur, and if it falls below 25% of the normal level then a coma may result. Furthermore, your glucose levels have an affect on when you are hungry and when your not. When glucose levels within the body fall, then you feel hungry. Likewise, if the glucose levels are high, then you feel full.


Ch.4: Cellulose

Film (left) is made from cellulose. (

The main component in cotton is cellulose. Cellulose, as well as making up over 90% of cotton, is also a major component of plant cell walls, and is a polymer of glucose. Cellulose is a structural polysaccharide, which means that it provides structural support to organisms, plants in particular. (Le Couteur & Burreson 70-86)

The cellulose molecule is shaped in long chains. When these chains are packed closely together then they make the rigid, insoluble fiber that plant cell walls are constructed of. The same bundling and twisting of the cellulose molecule is required to make textile fibers also. Another unlikely use for cellulose, besides the use of it in cotton clothing, is that it can be used as an explosive molecule. It was discovered in the 1830s that cellulose, when combined with a concentrated form of nitric acid, and then poured into water would yield a highly flammable and explosive white powder. This white powder became known as guncotton. Guncotton was found to be highly unstable and extremely sensitive, an inconvenient property when talking about explosives. Because of this fact, gun powder remained the dominant force in the explosives market. Guncotton was not a complete failure however. Chemists were able to use the nitrocellulose compound and form some of the first films used in photography. In fact, the photography and movie industry would probably look quite different without cellulose. (Le Couteur & Burreson 70-86)

Ch.5: Nitro Compounds


Although the structures of explosive molecules vary greatly, most of the time, they contain a nitro group. This combination of one Nitrogen, and two oxygens (NO2), attached at the right position has greatly increased the world's ability to wage war. The destructive powers of an explosion come from a shock wave caused by the very rapid increase the volume of the nitro compound as it changes from solid or liquid into gas. This shock wave occurs because gases have a bigger volume than similar amounts of solids or liquids. Nitro compounds are an important component of explosions because, as we all know, an explosion cannot occur with out the presence of oxygen. The oxygen required for an explosive reaction must come from the molecule itself because oxygen from the atmosphere does not collect quickly enough. Thus, molecules with nitrogen and oxygen bonded together are often explosive. (Le Couteur & Burreson 87-104)

Ch. 6: Silk and Nylon

The properties of silk that made it so popular, its smoothness, its luster, and it suitability for a variety of climates are due to its Chemical Composition. It is because of Silk's chemical structure that it was so widely coveted and traded. (Le Couteur & Burreson 105-122)

Silk was first discovered by the Chinese in c.2600 BCE. Princess Hsi-ling-shih first learned of this valuable thread when an insect cocoon fell into her tea and she realized that the silk could be unwound and was viable for textile use. The cocoon that fell into the Chinese Princess's tea was a silkworm's (Bombyx mori) cocoon. Ever since then, silk has been obtained from the silkworm. In order to harvest the silk, the silkworm cocoons must be heated to kill the chrysalis inside and then boiled in water to dissolve a sticky secretion that was produced b the silkworm to hold the silk threads together. Pure silk is then unwound from the cocoons and spun onto reels. Over the next 200 years, the silk trade flourished. The production of silk was a heavily guarded Chinese secret, but eventually the method of silk production spread to other countries and started new industries throughout the Mediterranean and East Asia. (Le Couteur & Burreson 105-122)

These silkworms will soon spin themselves into a cocoon made of silk.

Silk is a protein that is composed of 22 amino acids. The amino acids, glycine, alanine, and serine alone account for 85% of silk's structure. The size of the amino acids play an important factor in determining the smoothness of the silk. The structure of silk forms a pleated pattern. This pleated structure is responsible for many of silk's desirable properties such as its resistance to stretching, smoothness, and luster.(Le Couteur & Burreson 105-122)

Nylon was discovered in the mid-20th century by Wallace Carothers. Nylon generally serves as an artificial, and cheaper silk. It was made by combining the adipic acid molecule with the 1,6 diaminohexane molecule. Nylon and Silk are chemically similar in the fact that they both contain an aminde link formed by eliminating a water molecule. Nylon is best known for its use in women's' hosiery, but it was also used as toothbrush bristles, fishing lines and nets, for surgical sutures, and for coating electrical wires. When WWII struck most nylon production was diverted for military use and made into tire chords, mosquito nets, weather balloons, rope, or parachute shrouds. (Le Couteur & Burreson 105-122)

Silk made an impression on history by allowing for the growth of international trade, established new industries, and brought great wealth to many parts of the globe.(Le Couteur & Burreson 105-122)

Ch. 7: Phenol

An operating room in 1924 (right)

In the 1820s, hospitals were filthy. Many patients died from a preventable disease such as gangrene or the infamous "hospital disease". Because of these unsterile condition, Joesph Lister, an American doctor, began experimenting with carbolic acid, a waste product of coal gas, for use as an antiseptic. Lister first tested this method on a boy with a compound fracture. He applied the carbolic acid to the boy's wound and it formed a scab-like covering over the injury. The boy's wound never became infected and thus proved carbolic acid as an effective antiseptic. The active ingredient in the carbolic acid was Phenol. Through the years, carbolic acid usage became more widely used and more refined. Carbolic acid was use in surgery to prep and clean the surgical area and a machine was even made to spray a fine carbolic acid solution into the air to kill airborne bacteria in the operating room. But as many surgeons learned, the main ingredient in carbolic acid, Phenol, was highly toxic. Even in dilute solutions, it caused bleaching, cracking, and numbness of the skin and when inhaled, it caused severe illness. Because of this fact, many doctors refused to use phenol. (Le Couteur & Burreson 123-140)

Phenol is not only Lister's antiseptic molecule. The term, Phenol refers to any compound that has an OH
group attached directly to a benzene ring. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different phenols ranging from capsaicin, zigerone, and vanillin which are ingredients in flavorings, to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the active ingredient in marijuana.(Le Couteur & Burreson 123-140)

Diagram of Phenols (above)
The most important use of phenol however, is its use in the discovery and manufacture of plastics. Leo Baekeland was able to use a formaldehyde and phenol compound to create the first plastic called Bakelite. The formaldehyde in the bakelite was able to react at 3 different places on the benzene ring of phenol, causing cross links among the polymer chains. The Rigidity in Bakelite is caused by these very short cross-links attached to the already rigid and planar bezene rings. Bakelite was a liquid that hardened rapidly into a transparent, amber colored solid that could completely conform to the shape of the mold into which it was poured. Once bakelite was formed, it was was frozen into its shape forever and would not melt. These characteristics made it ideal for electrical insulation.(Le Couteur & Burreson 123-140)
Phenol is responsible for the first use of antiseptic surgery, and created a new industry as well as thrusting the world into the Age of Plastic.

Chapter 8: Isoprene

Where would the world be today without rubber? There would be no tires, no gaskets or fan belts, no elastic for clothes, no waterproof soles for shoes, and no rubber bands. The birth of rubber came from the gum of the caoutchouc tree. During the 18th century. French Exploror, Chales-Marie de La Condamine observed the Omegus Indians collecting the caoutchoc sap, holding it over a smokey fire and molding the sap into different shapes. But when La Condamine tried to send samples of the caoutchoc sap over seas back to France, it fermented in the hot weather and by the time it arrived in Europe, it was a sticky, smelly mess. This was a problem of rubber for many years to come. The various rubber compounds would become hard and brittle during the winter, and would melt during the hot summer months. In 1839, nearly 100 years after the caoutchoc sap's discovery and numerous other failed attempts at forming viable rubber compounds, Charles Goodyear discovered that adding powdered sulfur to rubber could absorb the excess moisture that made the substance sticky during the summer. (Le Couteur & Burreson 141-161)

Natural rubber is a polymer of Isoprene. Isoprene is the smallest repeating unit of any natural polymer and therefore, makes rubber the simplest natural polymer. The chemical formula for rubber was discovered to be C5H8. There are two forms of the isoprene molecule: cis and trans. In the cis structure of isoprene, the two hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond. In the trans structure, the two hydrogen atoms are on different sides of the double bond. The arrangement of these molecules vastly affects the end result's properties. For example, the cis arrangement of isoprene is essential for the elasticity of some rubbers, while the trans formation yields the stiff and tough properties of some other rubbers. The molecular structure forms a cross-linkage that holds the rubber together. In the cis formation, there is not enough cross linking between the molecules and they are able to slip past each other, resulting in the flexibility and stretchiness of cis rubber. In the trans formation, there is more cross linking and therefore produces a more rigid final product. (Le Couteur & Burreson 141-161)

the cis structure of isoprene

Rubber, over the course of the 200 years since it was first discovered in the forests of Ecuador, has become a staple in Global Society. It has become a military as well as an industrial necessity. Many times through the course of our day, we forget to recognize the significance that rubber plays on our lives. With out the small rubber gaskets, or hoses, or rubber tires, rubberized waterproof clothing, or something as mundane as rubber bands, our society will come crashing down. (Le Couteur & Burreson 141-161)

Ch. 9: Dyes

The dye industry goes back several thousand years. The early dies were obtained mainly through plants roots, leaves, bark or berries. Most of the dies produced did not adhere permanently to untreated fibers and therefore fabrics had to be treated with mordants, which are compounds designed to help fix the color to the textile fiber. While many dies in c.3000 BCE were highly treasured and very expensive there was several problems with the dyes themselves. The dyes were difficult to obtain, color range was limited, and the colors were not strong, but faded quickly to dull colors in the sunlight. Dyes are organic compounds that are Incorporated into the fibers of textiles. The molecular structure of these compounds allows the absorption of certain wavelengths of light from the visible structure. The relationship between the wavelength absorbed and the chemical structure depends on the presence of double bond alternating with single bonds. The Primary colors, Blue, Red, and Yellow all come from either Indigoton, alizarin, or crocetin respectivly. (Le Couteur & Burreson 162-180)

Blue dyes were especially valued because, compared with red or yellow, blue shades were not as common in plants. The blue dye was harvested from the Indigofera tinctoria. The fresh leaves of this indigo producing plant are at first colorless, But after fermentation under alkaline conditions followed by oxidation, the blue color appears. Indican, indigoton's parent molecule contains an attached glucose unit. Fermentation of Indican splits off the glucose unit which produces the indoxol/indigoton molecule. Indican is initially colorless, but after it goes through the fermentation process and turns into indiogoton, the color changes to blue. The same is true for alizarin, and crocetin. Initially, they are colorless, but after a chemical reaction the gain their color. (Le Couteur & Burreson 162-180)


<span class=


Ch. 10: Wonder Drugs


For thousands of years, medicinal herbs have been used to treat a variety of ailments such as wounds, sickness, and to relieve pain. But none of these herbal remedies could do anything for infection. The use of Phenol as an antiseptic prevented the actual contraction of infectious bacterium, but once the infection was in your body, it was practically a death sentence. For this reason, antibiotics were developed through a process of trial and error. In the early 1930's, Gehard Dogmark discovered the use of prontosil red dye as an antibacterial agent. When prontosil red enters the body, it breaks down into sulfanilamide, which was the active bacteria fighting ingredient of the prontosil red molecule. Once it was discovered that sulfanilamide was the molecule responsible for the antibacterium properties, the structure of this molecule was changed many times in hopes that it would make the drug more effective. The resulting molecules are all part of the family of antibiotics that came to be known as sulfanilamides of sulfa drugs. Sulfa drugs were found to be very effective against infections such as pneumonia, scarlet fever, and gonorrhea, but they also had a long list of side effects including an allergic response, rashes, fever, and kidney failure. The size and shape of the sulfanilamide molecule prevents bacteria from making an essential nutrient, folic acid. Folic acid is made from a smaller molecule, p-Aminobenzoic. The chemical structures of p-Aminobenzoic and sulfanilamide are so similar that bacteria will mistake sulfanilamide for p-Aminobenzoic and use sulfanilamide in its place. The bacteria then, are unable to make enought folic acid, and die. Humans are not affected by the sulfanilamide because our source of folic acid comes from our food and is not made within our bodies.(Le Couteur & Burreson 181-200)

In 1877, Louis Pasteur, discovered penicillin. This mold is so important because it was nontoxic, nonirritating, had none of the side effects of the sulfa drugs and could be applied directly to the tissue. Penicillin is effective because of the shape of its molecule. Penicillin's structure contains a four member ring in which the bonds form a square, and consequently 90 degree bond angles. When the penicillin encounters bacterial, the four membered ring opens and effectively deactivates the an enzyme that creates the cell wall. Without the ability to grow cell walls, growth of new bacteria is severely inhibited. (Le Couteur & Burreson 181-200)

Molecular Structure of Penicillin

Ch.11: The Pill

The use of the pill brought on the sexual revolution of the 60s (

In the 1960s, norethindrone was isolated for use in the first oral contraceptive which came to be known as the pill. The pill brought on the "Free Love" movement of the 60s, as well as women's liberation movement, the rise of feminism and, eventually, the breakdown of the family. (Le Couteur & Burreson 201-222)
A more primitive form of birth control was the use of the female hormone, progesterone. Progestesterone is released naturally by the female's body during pregnancy to suppress ovulation, and therefore, prevents the woman from getting pregnant again, during her first pregnancy. This is the same idea as the use of progestesterone as a contraceptive, progestesterone prevents ovulation. The only problem with this method is that it was very difficult and expensive to isolate the necessary quantity of progestesterone to prevent ovulation. Also, progestesterone had to be injected to maintain it potentcy. (Le Couteur & Burreson 201-222)
To battle the problems of progestesterone, norethindone was synthesized in 1951. Norethindone is 8 times more powerful than progestesterne and can be taken orally. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and Katherine McCormick were the driving force behind the legalization of the pill and illegally smuggled birth control in to the US for thousands of women. (Le Couteur & Burreson 201-222)

Ch.12: Molecules of Witchcraft

Witchcraft in the 13th century CE (right) (

During the Iron Age, millions of women and children were burned at the stake, hanged, or tortured because they were accused of being witches. Many of the accused confessed to flying during the night to have meetings with the Devil and to cast hexes on their enemies. While many confessed after severe torture, other accused "witches" sincerely believed that they had been on a magical adventure. It is now believed by historians that one of the widely used "potions" of the witches was an alkaloid, a compound with hallucinogenic properties. (Le Couteur & Burreson 223-245)
Alkaloids are extremely toxic and affect the central nervous system. Alkaloids were used by witches in their flying salves, which often included extracts from mandrake, belladonna, and henbane. Mandrake, Belladonna, and henbane all contain the alkaloids, atropine and hyoscine. Large concentrations of these akaliods produce bluried vision, agitation, delirium, and euphoria. As one can see, the symptoms of alkaloid ingestion are very similar to a substance induced high and is the probabal cause of the accussed witch's believe that she actually was a witch. (Le Couteur & Burreson 223-245)

Ch. 13: Morphine, Nicotine, and Caffine

Opium, and its alkaloid counterparts, are produced from the poppy plant (left).(

Morphine, nicotine, and Caffeine are all addictive alkaloid molecules that had a great impact on trade relations between various nations throughout history. (Le Couteur & Burreson 246-268)
Morphine, the active ingredient in Opium, is an extremely effective painkiller, and in some cases has a narcotic, and hallucinogenic effect. Variations of the morphine compound, are heroin and methadone. Morphine mimics the natural painkilling endorphins in our brains and explains their effectiveness as painkillers. Morphine has generally been prescribed throughout history as a cure for many different symptoms including coughing, headaches, asthma, emphysema, and tuberculosis. The Chemical structure of morphine, and its derivatives, are essential for its narcotic effects. In this structure, known as the morphine rule, the molecule must have a phenyl or aromatic ring, a quaternary carbon atom, and a CH2-CH2 group attached to a tertiary Nitrogen atom. It is believed that the required structure of the morphine rule is responsible for the narcotic effects of many chemical compounds. (Le Couteur & Burreson 246-268)
Use of Tobacco was first discovered in Latin America and the brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus. The use of tobacco spread wildly throughout Europe because of its addictive qualities. Tobacco has at least 10 different alkaloids, the most common being Nicotine. Biologically, Nicotine acts as a stimulant in small doses and a depressant in large doses. Furthermore, it has been discovered that nicotine is 1000 times more potent when it is absorbed through the skin than when it is taken orally. Nicotine is also used as an extremely effective natural pesticide.(Le Couteur & Burreson 246-268)
Caffeine is naturally found in tea leaves, coffee beans, cacao pods, and cola nuts. When in the body, caffeine goes to the brain where it blocks the absorption of adenosine at the synaptic gap. Adenosine slows down the firing of Neurotransmitters which therefore makes you tired, but if caffeine inhibits the absorption of this neurotransmitter, then it explains caffeine's awakening effect. Caffeine is also toxic as well as highly addictive, it is estimated that 80g-100g is the lethal dose for an adult. But, it is nearly impossible to consume that much caffeine at one time.

Ch. 14: Oleic Acid

Olive Oil

Oleic Acid is the main ingredient in Olive Oil. Olive Oil, a valued trade item, was the driving force of the Mediterranean societies. This golden oil was always the foundation upon which the post-classical Mediterranean societies based their their economic prosperity on, and this beloved oil was at the heart of their culture. Throughout history, olive oil has been used as fuel in lamps, for cosmetic purposes, fragrances, as a cure for numerous diseases and a painkiller. One of the reasons that olive oil was so effective as a painkiller, was because it also contains salicylic acid, the same molecule that is the active ingredient in aspirin. (Le Couteur & Burreson 270-290)

Another Reason why olive oil was so valued was because it did not spoil as quickly as other oils. This is due to olive oil's lower proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids is 10% lower than other oils. Furthermore, olive oil contains small amounts of polyphenols and vitamin E and K. These molecules are all antioxidants, which play an important role in the natural preservation of of the olive oil. (Le Couteur & Burreson 270-290)

Ch. 15: Salt

Salt (

There are 3 main methods of collecting salt: evaporating seawater, boiling salt solutions from brine springs, and mining rock salt. Seawater evaporation is the most commonly used method of salt production. It is a slow, yet cheap process and is more effective in tropical climates. Raw sea salt is of a lower quality of brine salt. Seawater is about 3.5% pure salt and contains impurities such as magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride. Brine springs are underground solutions of highly concentrated solutions of salt, often times 10 times more concentrated than seawater. It is also a very effective method of collecting salt in any climate. Brine salt also lacks the impurities of sea salt and is more desired and therefore, more expensive. Rock salt is the dried remains of of old oceans or seas. These salt deposits must be mined out of the earth. (Le Couteur & Burreson 291-308)

There are many more uses for salt than just for flavor. Salt has been used for centuries as a preservative of meats, by removing water from the tissue. Salt is also vital to the human body. Salt is responsible for maintaining the electrolyte balance, generating the electrical impulses in neurons, and it is a necessary component in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is an essential component of the digestive juices in our stomachs. Symptoms of lack of salt are weight loss, loss of appetite, cramps, nausea, and in extreme cases, vascular collapse and death. in contrast, an excess of salt causes high blood pressure which can result in heart, kidney, or liver disease. (Le Couteur & Burreson 291-308)

Ch. 16: Chlorocarbon Compounds


Chlorocarbons are a vital componet of refrigeration. Other attemps at refrigeration included molecules such as Ammonia, ether, methyl chloride, sulfur dioxide were good refrigerants, but they either decomposed, were fire hazards, poisonous, or extremly bad smelling. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) met all the requirements for a good refrigerant, extremly stable, and had none of the unfourtunant downsides of the other refrigerants. CFCs started the air conditioning industry because of its cooling properties, and because it reacted with almost nothing, it was ideal propellants for virtually everything that could be applied through a spray can. (Le Couteur & Burreson 308-330)

Because CFCs are not easily decomposed, after use they rise into the atmosphere. There, they act as a catalyst for the decomposition of ozone (O3). This destruction of ozone takes the ozone layer out of equillibruim. The ozone layer is important because it protects us from the most dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun. It estimated that for every 1% of ozone depletion, 2% more harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate the earth's atmostphere.(Le Couteur & Burreson 308-330)

Ch. 17: Molecules Versus Malaria

Cross section of the Malaria parasite (

Malaria is a nasty little parasite that is the greatest killer of humanity for all time. In other cases of epidemics, an infected person runs the risk of spreading the disease to 4-10 people, but if the person has malaria, then that person can possible infect 100 other people. The Malaria parasite is found in the blood and is transmitted and spread when mosquitos bite people. Symptoms of malaria include intense fever, chills, terrible headache, and muscle pains. Eventually, an infected patient will become jaundiced, lethargic, and confused before lapsing into a coma and dying. (Le Couteur & Burreson 330-350)

Quinine, an alkaloid from the bark of Cinchona genus has proved very effective against fighting malaria. the cinchona bark was made into a tea and drunken to relieve fevers most likely caused by malaria. The demand for quinine had become so great over the years that the cinchona trees would sound be extinct if the rate of harvest continued. Therefore, the compound was synthesized into chloroquine. Chloroquine was an effective treatment for around forty years and then a chloroquine resistant strain of malaria evolved and it was no longer useful. (Le Couteur & Burreson 330-350)

The best way to stop malaria, or so it seemed, was to stop its transmission by killing the mosquitos. The insecticide DDT was created just for this purpose. DDT works by interfering with with a nerve control process unique to insects. Because of this, at the levels used in insecticide, DDT is not toxic to humans and other animals, but lethal to insects. DDT was extremely cheap and effective, but soon it caused an ecological imbalance, which caused an even more serious bug problem. (Le Couteur & Burreson 330-350)