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Dear Reader,

It has come to my notice that a series of slugs have slithered into Vara, to my great displeasure these brutes have chosen to invade my garden. I have had to do some research work to enable me to respond in the correct manner to these animals. For those of you who do not know this the slugs are a pest which has been accidentally introduced into Sweden, I did some research and discovered a few interesting things about them.

Firstly slugs hate caffeine, in large doses it is fatal to them while in small doses it puts them off their dinner. I have to admit while I find the slugs repulsive I do not wish them all dead. I would rather that they went off into the forest where they can do little harm.

Caffeine is one of those molecules which has been characterised again and again by crystallography, one example is the magnesium bromide dicaffeine solid (M.B.Cingi, A.M.M.Lanfredi, A.Tiripicchio, G.Bandoli, D.A.Clemente, Inorg.Chim.Acta , 1981, 52, 237). Below is the molecular structure of caffeine in all its glory.

Crystal strucutre of caffeine

Crystal structure of caffeine, note it shows bond lengths and not bond orders

I have a rather long and personal history with caffeine, one summer as an undergraduate I devised a total synthesis of the drug only to be disgusted to discover that the book I got the structure from had an error. As a result I was trying to devise a synthesis of a related compound (Isocoffeine). I can not recall all the details of my isocaffeine synthesis but I do recall that it would have used MIC (methyl isocyanate) for one of the steps (Not a nice substance !). To put it bluntly I felt decaffeinated by the experience !


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