Archive for April 1st, 2012

April 1, 2012



Congener¬†[kon-juh-ner] (from Latin for ‘of the same race or kind’) has several different meanings depending on the field in which it is used. Colloquially, it is used to mean a person or thing like another, in character or action. In biology, congeners are organisms within the same genus. In chemistry, congeners are related chemicals, e.g., elements in the same group of the periodic table, or derivatives thereof. In genetics, congenic organisms are those with very similar genomes, except for a small fraction. For example, recombinant congenic mice strains are produced in laboratories as a tool to study genetic disease.

In the alcoholic beverages industry, congeners, also known as fusel oils, are substances produced during fermentation. These substances include small amounts of chemicals such as acetone, acetaldehyde, and other higher alcohols, esters, and aldehydes (e.g. propanol, glycols, ethyl acetate). Congeners are responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled alcoholic beverages, and contribute to the taste of non-distilled drinks. It has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a hangover.

April 1, 2012



A hangover is the experience of various unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. An alcohol hangover is associated with a variety of symptoms that may include dehydration, fatigue, headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, weakness, elevated body temperature and heart rate, hypersalivation, difficulty concentrating, sweating, anxiety, dysphoria, irritability, sensitivity to light and noise, erratic motor functions (including tremor), trouble sleeping, severe hunger, halitosis, and lack of depth perception. Many people will also be repulsed by the thought, taste or smell of alcohol during a hangover.

While a hangover can be experienced at any time, generally speaking it is experienced the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Hypoglycemia, dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication, and glutamine rebound are all theorized causes of hangover symptoms. Hangover symptoms may persist for several days after alcohol was last consumed. Approximately 25-30% of drinkers may be resistant to hangover symptoms.

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