University of Ottawa NMR Facility Web Site

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Friday, December 7, 2018

NMR and the Taste of Christmas - Gingerbread

The holiday season is full of delicious treats.  Aside from rum spiked eggnog, candy canes, fruitcake, shortbread and cranberry sauce, one of my favorite Christmas treats is gingerbread.  Whether you enjoy biting the limbs off a gingerbread man or munching on the roof of a gingerbread house, you cannot escape the wonderful aroma and flavor of ginger and cinnamon.  These fragrant spices can be easily examined by NMR spectroscopy.  The figure below shows the 600 MHz 1H NMR spectra of CDCl3 extracts of ground ginger (top) and ground cinnamon (bottom).
The main constituents of these extracts are 6-gingerol and cinnamaldehyde for the ginger and cinnamon extracts, respectively.  Think of these compounds and their NMR spectra while you bite the head off your next gingerbread man in front of your beautifully decorated Christmas tree.  Merry Christmas!