Thursday, September 14, 2017

How perfumes and inferior masking agents messes with your hormones

Although many of us love our signature scent, it likely contains chemicals that may wreck havoc on our hormone function. I'm not suggesting we ditch fragrances, but it’s important to know what we are putting on our bodies and to be smart consumers.

Here’s what every woman needs to know about perfume, its impact on hormones, and how to find safer scents:

1. Phthalates are hiding in synthetic perfumes.

Phthalates are associated with serious health issues, but you won’t find them listed on the labels. Ingredients in perfumes are considered a trade secret, so manufacturers can hide hundreds of chemicals under the term “fragrance.” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found phthalates in 70% of the perfumes they tested, but they weren't listed on any of the labels.

2. Phthalates are known hormone disruptors.

We’ve heard that hormone disruptors are bad, but what exactly do they do?

A hormone disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed into the body acts like a hormone. Phthalates effect our hormones by either mimicking or blocking our bodies natural hormones, which leads to disruption of the body’s normal functions. Our bodies produce small amounts of hormones every day, so even slight variations in hormone levels can lead to problems like infertility, metabolic issues, breast cancer, birth defects, diabetes, obesity and more. A recent study from Brigham and Women's Hospital linked phthalates to an increased risk for preterm birth.

3. Wearing perfume effects the health of those around you

When we wear perfume we are increasing the levels of those around us in addition to our personal levels.

For the men in our life, increased phthalate levels have been linked to infertility and decreased sperm count.

For our children, phthalates have been linked to obesity, asthma, behavioral problems, genital changes in boys and early puberty in girls.

A big price to pay for smelling pretty?

4. Avoiding perfume is the most effective way to decrease phthalate exposure.

A recent study tested the urine of pregnant women and found women who used perfume had phthalate concentrations 167 percent higher than non-users.

5. There are natural alternatives (that you will love!).

Avoiding phthalate-loaded perfumes doesn’t mean we have to forgo beautiful scents. Natural perfumes made from essential oils and botanical ingredients are free of synthetic fragrances and other chemicals. Read the labels and look for brands that list natural oils, plants, or specifically state they don’t contain phthalates. Any time you see the ingredient “fragrance” listed on a label, assume phthalates are also present.

Are synthetic perfumes worth the risk? Getting the phthalates out of our bodies means a reduced risk of serious health issues. By choosing natural perfumes we can make a big difference in our exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, and to those around us. Small changes in the products we use does make a difference.

Strong Masking fragrance , more complaints, landfill closed

Continuing problems at Esabli Landfill in Nari has had another set back as the Environmental Authority has canceled the license of the group involved in managing the site. Clamite Johannes ,  MD of Camak Group , said that after the weekly meeting with the Environmental Authority he was issued with a canceled license to operate writ.  "We believed we were doing the right thing"  he said.
This all happened as they started using a concentrated perfume on the site which was suppose to mask the odors, instead created more complaints.   

With increasing urbanisation putting additional pressure on landfill sites in urban areas, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has taken the first step towards documenting what it considers “undoubtedly the most complex” of all air pollution problems — odour. Urban landfill sites with biodegradable waste in sprawling cities are a major source of odour pollution.
“Our country is very big and there are no standards as yet on how to go about measuring odour, monitoring it or setting parameters for odour pollution,” a senior CPCB official told The Indian Express. Ambient standards are hard to come by, like for air or noise pollution, “the database is non-existent”, the official said.
In early September the CPCB released ‘Odour Monitoring and Management in Urban Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill Sites’, nine years after it first came up with guidelines calling for “accurate, precise and acceptable” measurement of odour, and a need to come up with a database of information to capture the magnitude of odour pollution.

The Centre’s Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, identified odour as a “public nuisance”. The CPCB official said the standards in place are all laid down by foreign countries. “These are not applicable to India since the characteristics of the garbage are very different here,” he said. “This is the first step to even understand how to go about measuring and understanding odour pollution.”
The 2017 guidelines use East Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill site as a “pilot study”, “which recognises the diverse climatic zones of our vast country, hence odour surveys at MSW landfill sites cannot be generalised but to be assessed on a case-to-case basis, taking into account the unique regional — temporal and spatial influences of each MSW landfill site,” the guidelines note.

They reiterate recommendations from the 2008 guidelines, calling for a green belt around landfill sites with selection of “appropriate plant species for vegetation cover” to assist in reducing odour pollution. They also suggest the need for installation of sensor-based continuous odour measurement systems that are currently in place for air, water and noise pollution.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App


GECA makes it easier to care about our planet and people

As people worldwide become increasingly aware of the benefits of taking care of the environment, the number of environmentally responsible claims has become overwhelming.
We’re cutting through the hype to accurately assess the environmental claims of a whole range of products and materials, so you don’t have to.
The GECA ecolabel is fast becoming one of the most reliable sources for consumers looking to reduce their environmental impact. By using world-class standards, we’ve ensured you can rely on the quality and environmental performance of a product wherever you see the GECA ecolabel.

Every certified product, service and material is independently and rigorously tested

We also understand that you want to protect your family and those around you, which is why we address the impacts that products have on human health as well. We ensure that our certified products consider the effects of toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or carcinogenic substances on human health.
We care about the conditions in which certified products are manufactured too, which is why GECA’s standards consider the social impacts of our certified products, including safer and more ethical working conditions.

We make it easier for consumers to make good choices

By educating consumers about their choices and raising awareness of brands that are actively looking after the environment, we’re working towards a greener future for everyone.
We advocate on behalf of our GECA certified businesses, verifying their environmental claims, boosting their profiles and promoting their environmental stewardship. In turn, this makes it easier for consumers to find GECA certified products and trust the claims being made.

It’s easy to find products for any home or business

We’ve already given GECA certification to over 3,500 products, materials and services across Australia, all of which have been independently audited to ensure compliance. You’ll find products listed by standard within just about every building and design category, from toilet paper to cement.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001 is an international Standard that specifies the requirements for a structured management approach to environmental protection.

Its purpose is to enable an organisation of any type or size to develop and implement a policy that is committed to environmental responsibility; such as resource sustainability, prevention of pollution, climate change mitigation and minimisation of environmental impact.

Why Environmental Management is Important

A management system which adopts ISO 14001 not only safeguards the organisation’s business strategies now and in the future, but also demonstrates to stakeholders a commitment to environmental performance improvement.

Benefits of ISO 14001 Certification

  • Improved corporate citizenship and social responsibility within an environmental context
  • Demonstration of compliance to regulatory requirements
  • Demonstration of environmental management with the very recognisable “Five Tick” Standards Mark
  • Proactive risk management from environmental impact
  • Achieve long-term business strategies by safeguarding resource management
  • Competitive advantage and broadened market scope for contracts and tenders (especially government)
  • Encouragement of improved environmental performance through the supply chain.
  • ISO 14001:2015 is now available

The ISO 14001 Environment Management System - Requirements Standard has been significantly updated to meet current market best practice.

What are the main changes from ISO 14001:2004?

ISO 14001:2015 significantly differs from the 2004 edition, with:

  • More emphasis on leadership and commitment
  • A new structure to align management systems Standards
  • Increased importance on environmental management in strategic planning
  • More proactive requirements to protect the environment
  • Addition of improving environmental performance
  • Introduction of a communications strategy
  • Distinction of ‘lifecycle thinking’ when considering the environment.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Difference Between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids

All materials can be categorized into three main states based on their nature of molecular aggregation; these categories are called solids, liquids, and gasses. Gasses and liquids are quite different from solids since they have no definite shape and take the shape of the container in which they are placed. Unlike gasses and liquids, solids have a definite three-dimensional shape with the most complex form of a molecular aggregate. Moreover, solids are relatively more hard, dense and strong in keeping their shape.

Unlike gasses and liquids, solids are not much affected by the changes in temperature or pressure. In addition, solids possess a wide range of mechanical and physical properties including electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, strength, hardness, toughness, etc. Because of these properties, solids are used in various applications in the fields of engineering, construction, automotive, fabrication etc. Solids mainly exist in two types: amorphous and crystalline.

The main difference between amorphous and crystalline solids is that amorphous solids do not have an ordered structure whereas crystalline solids have a highly ordered structure.

 In addition to this main difference, there are many more differences between these two types of solids.
 1. What are Amorphous Solids? – Definition, Structure, Properties, Examples
 2. What are Crystalline Solids? – Definition, Structure, Properties, Examples
3. What is the difference between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids?

Difference Between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids - Comparison Summary Difference Between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids What is an Amorphous Solid Amorphous solids are defined as solids that do not have an ordered structure.

That means the atoms or ions are arranged without any definite geometrical form. Certain amorphous solids may have some orderly arrangement but it extends only for a few Angstrom units. These orderly arranged parts in amorphous solids are called crystallites. Due to the presence of disordered arrangements, amorphous solids are sometimes referred to as supercooled liquids.

The amorphous solids do not have sharp melting points, thus the liquid transformation occurs over a range of temperatures. Properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, and refractive index also do not depend on the direction of measurement; hence, they are called isotropic. Examples of amorphous solids include glass, solid polymers and plastics. Difference Between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids What is a Crystalline Solid Crystalline solids are the solids that possess highly ordered arrangement of atoms, ions or molecules in a well-defined three-dimensional structure. Moreover, these solids are characterized by their hardiness with sharp and high melting points.

Unlike amorphous solids, crystalline solids show anisotropic behavior when measuring their physical properties, which depend on the direction of measurement. Crystalline solids have definite geometrical shapes, which depend on the conditions during the crystal growth. Some examples of crystalline solids include diamond, sodium chloride, zinc oxide, sugar etc. Main Difference - Amorphous vs Crystalline Solids Difference Between Amorphous and Crystalline Solids Geometry / Structure Amorphous Solids: Amorphous solids do not have an ordered structure; they lack any pattern or arrangement of atoms or ions or any geometrical shape. Crystalline Solids: Crystalline solids have definite and regular geometry due to the orderly arrangement of atoms or ions. Melting Point Amorphous Solids: Amorphous solids do not have a sharp melting point. Crystalline Solids: Crystalline solids have a sharp melting point, where it changes into the liquid state. Heat of Fusion Amorphous Solids: Amorphous solids have no characteristic heat of fusion, thus regarded as super cooled liquids or pseudo-solids. Crystalline Solids: Crystalline solids have a definite heat of fusion, thus regarded as true solids. Anisotropy and Isotropy Amorphous Solids: Amorphous solids are isotropic because of having the same physical properties in all directions. Crystalline Solids: Crystalline solids are anisotropic and, due to which, their physical properties are different in different directions. Common Examples Amorphous Solids: Glass, organic polymers etc. are examples of amorphous solids. Crystalline Solids: Diamond, quartz, silicon, NaCl, ZnS, all metallic elements such as Cu, Zn, Fe etc. are examples of crystalline solids. Interparticle Forces Amorphous Solids: Amorphous solids have covalently bonded networks.

Crystalline Solids: Crystalline solids have covalent bonds, ionic bonds, Van der Waal’s bonds and metallic bonds. References: Jain, M. (Ed.). (1999). The Solid State. Competition Science Vision, 2(21), 1166-1177. Sivasankar. (2008). Engineering Chemistry. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. Dolter, T., & Maone, L. J. (2008). Basic Concepts of Chemistry (8th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. Image Courtesy: “Crystalline or amorphous” By Cristal_ou_amorphe.svg: Cdangderivative work: Sbyrnes321 (talk) – Cristal_ou_amorphe.svg (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia “Glass02″ By Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work (GFDL 1.2) via Commons Wikimedia “CZ brilliant” By Gregory Phillips – English Wikipedia, original upload 18 January 2004 by Hadal en:Image:CZ brilliant.jpg (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Zwaardemaker with new delivery systems.

New Delivery methods of ANOTEC(R).

Zwaardemaker's studies is the concept of odour conjugates. Zwaardemaker discovered that certain odors could be prevented from detection by smell senses when mixed with various essential oils. These combination of odors are referred to as Zwaardemaker Pairs, (or Z-pairs).


  1. ^ A. K. M. Noyons. Hendrik Zwaardemaker: 1857-1930. The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Jul., 1931), pp. 525-526
  1.  Eibenstein, A.; et al. (July 2005). "Modern psychophysical tests to assess olfactory function"Neurological Sciences26 (3): 147–155. ISSN 1590-1874PMID 16086127doi:10.1007/s10072-005-0452-3. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  2. ^ "Hendrik Zwaardemaker (1857 - 1930)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Heart Radioactivity"Time. December 9, 1929. Retrieved 2007-01-15.

#*#* Anotec is a registered trademark in the United States 

Monday, July 31, 2017

'Quantum smell' idea gains ground

A controversial theory that the way we smell involves a quantum physics effect has received a boost, following experiments with human subjects.
It challenges the notion that our sense of smell depends only on the shapes of molecules we sniff in the air.
Instead, it suggests that the molecules' vibrations are responsible.
A way to test it is with two molecules of the same shape, but with different vibrations. A report in PLOS ONE shows that humans can distinguish the two.
Tantalizingly, the idea hints at quantum effects occurring in biological systems - an idea that is itself driving a new field of science, as the BBC feature article Are birds hijacking quantum physics? points out.
But the theory - first put forward by Luca Turin, now of the Fleming Biomedical Research Sciences Centre in Greece - remains contested and divisive.
The idea that molecules' shapes are the only link to their smell is well entrenched, but Dr Turin said there were holes in the idea.
He gave the example of molecules that include sulphur and hydrogen atoms bonded together - they may take a wide range of shapes, but all of them smell of rotten eggs.
"If you look from the [traditional] standpoint... it's really hard to explain," Dr Turin told BBC News.
"If you look from the standpoint of an alternative theory - that what determines the smell of a molecule is the vibrations - the sulphur-hydrogen mystery becomes absolutely clear."
Molecules can be viewed as a collection of atoms on springs, so the atoms can move relative to one another. Energy of just the right frequency - a quantum - can cause the "springs" to vibrate, and in a 1996 paper in Chemical Senses Dr Turin said it was these vibrations that explained smell.
The mechanism, he added, was "inelastic electron tunnelling": in the presence of a specific "smelly" molecule, an electron within a smell receptor in your nose can "jump" - or tunnel - across it and dump a quantum of energy into one of the molecule's bonds - setting the "spring" vibrating.
But the established smell science community has from the start argued that there is little proof of this.

Of horses and unicorns

One way to test the idea was to prepare two molecules of identical shape but with different vibrations - done by replacing a molecule's hydrogen atoms with their heavier cousins called deuterium.
Leslie Vosshall of The Rockefeller University set out in 2004 to disprove Dr Turin's idea with a molecule called acetophenone and its "deuterated" twin.
The work in Nature Neuroscience suggested that human participants could not distinguish between the two, and thus that vibrations played no role in what we smell.
But in 2011, Dr Turin and colleagues published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that fruit flies can distinguish between the heavier and lighter versions of the same molecule.
A repeat of the test with humans in the new paper finds that, as in Prof Vosshall's work, the subjects could not tell the two apart. But the team then developed a brand new, far larger pair of molecules - cyclopentadecanone - with more hydrogen or deuterium bonds to amplify the purported effect.
In double-blind tests, in which neither the experimenter nor the participant knew which sample was which, subjects were able to distinguish between the two versions.
Still, Prof Vosshall believes the vibrational theory to be no more than fanciful.
Molecular model of cyclopentadecanone
Image caption The new experiments hinged on making a brand-new molecule - in "heavy" and "light" versions
"I like to think of the vibration theory of olfaction and its proponents as unicorns. The rest of us studying olfaction are horses," she told BBC News.
"The problem is that proving that a unicorn exists or does not exist is impossible. This debate on the vibration theory or the existence of unicorns will never end, but the very important underlying question of why things smell the way they do will continue to be answered by the horses among us."
Tim Jacob, a smell researcher at the University of Cardiff, said the work was "supportive but not conclusive".
"But the fact is that nobody has been able to unequivocally contradict [Dr Turin]," he told BBC News.
"There are many, many problems with the shape theory of smell - many things it doesn't explain that the vibrational theory does."
And although many more scientists are taking the vibrational theory seriously than back in 1996, it remains an extraordinarily polarised debate.
"He's had some peripheral support, but... people don't want to line up behind Luca," Prof Jacob said. "It's scientific suicide."
Columbia University's Richard Axel, whose work on mapping the genes and receptors of our sense of smell garnered the 2004 Nobel prize for physiology, said the kinds of experiments revealed this week would not resolve the debate - only a microscopic look at the receptors in the nose would finally show what is at work.
"Until somebody really sits down and seriously addresses the mechanism and not inferences from the mechanism... it doesn't seem a useful endeavour to use behavioural responses as an argument," he told BBC News.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing off this theory, but I need data and it hasn't been presented."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New evidence for the vibration theory of smell

The predictive power and galvanizing influence that theoretical models routinely enjoy in physics is only rarely replicated in biology. Lord Raleigh's theory of sound perception, Francis Crick's sequence and adapter hypotheses, and Hodgkin and Huxley's model of the electrical dynamics of neurons are a few notable exceptions that have gone on to spawn entire scientific industries. Although it is hard to find comparable mechanistic drama unfolding in our current century, Luca Turin's vibrational theory of olfaction has been a persistently fertile seed that has now ripened into a contentious fruit.
One way to judge a theory is by how hard its detractors work to disembowel it. Last year, one group went so far as to express human and mouse olfactory receptors in an in-vitro kidney cell preparation to see if deuterated synthetic musks with altered vibration signatures gave different responses. That group, perhaps not surprisingly, didn't find a whole lot to support the vibration theory. Now, a study using live honeybees did. A group at the University of Trento led by Albrecht Haase was able to prove by direct imaging of the brain that the bee olfactory system can clearly distinguish odorants with different vibration frequencies despite having identical shapes.
To do this the researchers used isotopomers of four different odorants (isoamyl acetate, octanol, benzaldehyde, and acetophenone) that were variously deuterated at the hydrogen spots. How do these guys even come up with the odorants for studies like this you might ask? Given the exclusive nature of these investigations each odorant is put through a tough vetting process, the full details of which are only very rarely revealed. For example, the isoamyl acetate happens to make honeybees go bananas. As one component of the honeybee sting package, this volatile ester acts as a pheromonal attractant to recruit other bees to the cause. It also is the primary component in banana oil flavoring.
The octanol is an 8-carbon long citrusy-orange alcohol which comes in no less than 89 different isomers. The researchers used the 1-octanol version which is conveniently available in full deuteration at all 17 hydrogen spots. The benzaldehyde, used for imitation almond extract among other practical things, has a special place in olfactory science as the simplest aromatic aldehyde. If you swap in a CH3 for the hydrogen on the aldehyde group you get acetophenone, the simplest aromatic ketone. This minor alteration promptly elevates the human olfactory experience to one of cherry, honeysuckle, and jasmine—a regular fruit stripe gum of a molecule.
The 'responses' that were measured in these studies were two-photon calcium imaging signals generated in the honeybee olfactory glomeruli in the 2 seconds after the odorants were applied. A critical point (at least for the ) was that the deuterated forms, particularly those expected to give different bee responses, should in the least have a unique, machine-measureable vibrational character. In other words, that the IR spectra of the deuterated forms, as determined true-to-life in a gaseous carrier, should have observable peaks that are clearly separated from the non-deuterated forms. 
Practically speaking, having 'clearly separated peaks' means we must make allowance for the fact that any flesh and blood spectroscope operating in the nose would presumably be addled by background thermal fluctuations (at 37 °C) of the order of kT/hc. In terms of wavenumbers this translates to ≈ 215 cm-1. As the relevant molecular vibration spectra extend up to wavenumbers of only around 3300 cm-1, this could be a stringent limitation—particularly in the lower so-called 'fingerprint' region from 500-1500 where there is typically a relatively high density of bending-mode peaks. 
Fortunately, the higher wavenumber region for these odorants is sparser, and has well-separated bond stretching peaks. The thermal filter effect of a 215 cm-1 wide signal homogenizer proved to be a game ender only for the isoamyl acetate. This was not entirely unexpected because the molecule used was only deuterated at three positions. Correspondingly, the differential responses obtained with isoamyl acetate were much less significant than with the other odorants, both across different glomeruli and bees alike.
For the benzaldehyde and octanol odorants the researchers found two iconic glomeruli with a particularly telling response; In one the normal non-deuterated form of benzaldehyde gave hardly any activation in the glomerulus, while the deuterated benzaldehyde triggered a large positive response. In the other, normal octanol caused activation of the glomerulus while the deuterated form caused inhibition. Considering the close structural correspondence between isotopomers, the experimental truths observed here would be difficult for even the most ardent adherent to the shapist receptor philosophy to sweep under the rug.
The authors observe that the shape-independent discrimination capabilities they found can not be dismissed as idiosyncratic to a few peculiar olfactory receptors, rather, they are a more general feature of ligand-receptor interaction. Much of the palpable in-house derision that members of the larger olfactory and neuroscience communities routine reserve for the vibrational theory might be traced to a deeper, more insidious fear: despite exhaustively focused efforts, they have no idea how receptors actually work.
In other words, an overarching predictive theory of the caliber alluded we alluded to above to guide experiments, not just for olfaction, but for all protein-based receptors, does not yet exist. In applying itself to the task of quickly (in evolutionary time) coming up with and artfully deploying 'universal detectors', whether it be antibodies for antigens, G-protein coupled receptors (GPRCs) to manhandle light-toggled nanolevers and tunnel electrons through air landed treasures, or transient receptor potential channels (TRPs) to personally touch everything on the spectrum from mentholic chill to capsaicin warmth or the viper's pitted IR to our own melanocytic ultraviolet, Nature has unleashed her unbridled imagination. 
To unmask what we might fancy as the basic principles Nature uses in 'biological detection', the hard part doesn't seem to be the problem of setting the proper parameters for passively binding familiar things, but rather that of rapidly modifying or otherwise proliferating an old generic protein hand, and then bending it to some new need. That unfamilial task might be capturing novel hint of some ray, quanta, field, or polarization, or cocking and setting itself in some new fashion to actively probe a new partner with a new jiggle. To shed light on how we might best use comparative phylogenetic methods to sort the greater olfactory receptor protein extended family, consider something we now understand quite well—the ribosome.
Figuring out exactly how the ribosome evolved from a primitive nonspecific peptide synthesis jig into a finely discriminating selector that fully enforces a rigorous genetic code upon the entire biosphere took more than looking at sequence homology. That all works fine for the short run, but sequence alone quickly exhausts itself in the deep evolutionary time. 3D structural homologies, on the other hand, generally get you a bit further back. Far enough in fact to trace every key innovation in the ribosome. Those provisions include everything from powering the peptide transfer cores with GTP hydrolysis and templating instruction with geometrically-enhanced mRNAs, to full blown cofactor virtualization via a system of exchangeable tRNAs and their massive synthetase support crew.
Sequence and structure analysis which worked so well for understanding ribosomes still has much to offer us in trying to crack olfactory reception. For example, the more refined deuterostomes like urchins and humans parted ways some time ago with protostomes like the honeybees and fruit flies that are conveniently used for study. Where we predominantly use GPCRs in our nose, they prefer to employ more direct-ionic receivers which lack obvious homology with our messenger systems, subunit composition, targeting methods, and terminal group positioning. Many other organisms, like the worm c. elegans, are somewhere in the middle as far as odor detection. Full qualification of their own unique receptor suites awaits.
But beyond these tools, we also need to exercise comparative phylogenetic imagination, hack new theory, and hazard wanton inference. For example, in looking to related senses we know deuterostomes have a sweet spot for microtubule-based photoreceptors whereas protostomes have always gone for actin based microvillar structures in their photoreceptors. Familiarity with both sensory systems suggests and constrains ideas regarding how their respective receptors detect and then signal. Knowing for example, that a particular olfactory receptor which is normally expressed on an urchin sperm links to a cytoskeletal system more apt to creep about than swim may not constitute a theory, but it might be a critical endpiece in someone's puzzle.
In applying hard limiters to classify the protein kits we find in cells—namely as receptors, enzymes, and ion channels—we end up with quite a salad of their associated protagonists; Depending on how they act or excite we give them names like ligand, prosthetic group, substrate, or even potential. The most versatile of our enzymes typically flex tiny vitaminized nucleotide derivatives at their core. Many of these primordial 'coenzymes' in turn nest a single metal ion knife edge that by nature of its coordination chemistry originally had some inherent penchant for catalysis within the prevailing geochemistry of the day. 
This predictable progression in the complexity of enzymes precisely mirrored that of their granddaddy, the ribosome. By accreting its own product, the ribosome gradually proteinized the least RNA snippets possessing the kernel of catalytic function it needed, culminating in the most massive synthesis conglomeration we find in all phylogeny—the human ribosome. Perhaps surprisingly, the now sophisticated receptor ion channel culture in our cells similarly accrued around another fundamental nugget—the leakiness of bare membranes. The Hodgkin and Huxley models mentioned above, which work well for the describing the electrical dynamics of spikes, unfortunately have little to say about other critical aspects of pulsating membranes (like heat capacity, enthalpy, and compressibility), and nothing of the thermodynamics of the spontaneous self-assembly of their proteins and lipids. 
Some clues to a way forward from our current position were recently suggested by Shamit Shrivastava. Reaching back to re-examine some critical ideas from the mind of none other than the man first intuited the existence of gravity waves, Shamit recalls Einstein's conception of a 'complete molecular mechanical theory'. Einstein's key practical intuition was to invert Boltzman's principle (which he felt was meaningless lacking a microscopic distribution function), and use an experimentally obtained formulation of entropy to deduce the distribution function. These arguments appear in Einstein's 1910 paper where he also defines a quantitative link between critical opalescence and Lord Rayleigh's Rayleigh scattering. 
Explaining these two phenomena in terms of density fluctuation in a fluid mixture approaching its critical point Einstein effectively solved the question of why the sky is blue. To now solve the questions of why fish is fishy and sugar sweet we await someone with an inordinate fondness for terpenoids to imagine sitting on a molecule of carvone.
More information: Scientific Reports, 6:21893. DOI: 10.1038/srep21893
© 2016

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