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Since medicinal plants from jungle contain many active compounds such as alkaloids, steroids, and tannins contained in bark or other parts of Amazon Jungle plants, the company has used bark from a particular plant found in Amazon Jungle to produce a new active drug. Alkaloid extraction is the first step of the process. Efficient method of extraction will be benefit for company’s drug. To isolate or purify alkaloid, we concern about alkaloids chemical property, acid- base chemistry, and aqueous solutions in a medicinal plant extraction. Alkaloids are chemical substance primarily found in plants and flowering plants. They compose of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Alkaloids mostly are weak bases and dissolve poorly in water but dissolve in organic solvent such as diethyl ether. Alkaloids, organic compounds, contains an amino group is called amine which consisted of a nitrogen atom by bonding with hydrogen atoms, alkyl groups, or combination of these three. Acids are defined as substance that dissolve or ionize in water to produce H+ions. Bases are defined as substance that dissolve or ionize in water to produce OH-ions. Mention their properties, acids and bases are different in properties. Acids have sour taste, cause color changes in plant dyes, react with metals to produce hydrogen gas, and react with carbonates and bicarbonates to produce carbon dioxide gas. Bases have a bitter taste, feeling of slippery, and cause color changes in plant dyes. When we defined Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and based, a Bronsted acid is a proton donor (donates H+), and Bronsted base is a proton acceptor (accept H+). Solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances. The solute is the substance present in the smaller amount, and the solvent is the substance present in the larger amount. In this research we mostly mention on aqueous solutions, in which the solute is a liquid or a solid and the solvent is water.

Body (Reasoning)

According to the company’s medicinal plant extraction, bark they ordered from South America and started to extract step by step. First, they broke the bark up into smaller pieces to increase more surface areas of chemical interaction. Then the bark was added into a reaction vessel with water (polar molecule) and acetic acid (weak acid) because this step was to bring acidity of the bark up (the bark initially insoluble and less polar). Before that, acids were added into water, acids dissolved in water and produced or gave up proton (H+ or H3O+). H2O + CH3COOH à H3O+ + CH3COO- When pieces of the bark, which have alkaloid substance (contained amine group - R3N), were added into water and acetic acids. Acids gave its proton (H3O+) to anime group and the molecule became (R3NH3O+) by attached of lone pairs of oxygen and nitrogen. The dilute acid would protonate the alkaloids, making more polar and water soluble. Next step, the mixture was boiled overnight (24 hrs.) to yield target substance from the bark and increase rate of reaction by stimulation of heat and this extraction will be used in next step. They filtered undissolved material and plant residue out of the mixture to have pure

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acid extraction of alkaloids. After the mixture was filtered, they added a base into the filtrate continuing until it reaching up pH of 9-10. Assumed that base they used was sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Raising pH allowed extraction of alkaloids solution less soluble and they came out as precipitate formed (NaR3N). Adding base, the acid would be neutralize, the extraction of alkaloids solution deprotonated. R3NH3O+ + NaOH à R3N+ + Na+ + OH- à NaR3N(s) + 2(H2O)(l) After this chemical reaction, NaR3N(s)was no longer water soluble but was still in water. Lastly, pure alkaloid was filtered out as the precipitate and the company would bring this precipitate on test.

Efficient extraction process refers to high yield of alkaloids extraction. However, less toxic waste, less solvent used, shorter time and other green factors should be also concerned. To improve the extraction method, I suggest to follow some steps:

(1) Break the bark up into smaller pieces The company should make the bark powder to be the initial substance to increase interaction surface (Step 1). (2) Add the bark into a reaction vessel with water and acetic acid The amount of water and acetic acid must be at optimum level derived by company’s experiment. However, it depends on type of extracted alkaloid (Step 2).


In this extraction process, alkaloids were isolated from the bark of medicinal plant found in Amazon Jungle. Polarity of molecule and the polarity of solvent must match if the molecule is to be extracted into the solvent. Acid-base chemistry played a crucial role in this extraction method both in extracting and neutralizing process. Acids acted as proton donor while bases acted as proton receiver. However, the green laboratory approach should be concerned for our sustainable world.

Part 2 short answer

1. Explain one common use of acid/base chemistry in everyday life. (

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Acid-base chemistry are used in industrial process, biological system, and our daily life. Acid has sour taste and base has bitter taste. Acid we can found around; for example, acetic acid in vinegar, citric acid in citrus fruits, lactic acid in sour milk, and ascorbic acid in vitamin C, and important acid in our stomach to help digestion of proteins is called hydrochloric acid (HCl). For base we can found in everyday; for example, soaps made from sodium hydroxide and baking soda consists of sodium bicarbonate.

2. Give an example and reason of a precipitation reaction (not the one used above). ( /5)

When an aqueous solution of silver nitrate (AgNO3) is added to an aqueous solution of Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), a brown solid is precipitated out of solution called silver hydroxide (AgOH).

AgNO3 (aq)+ NaOH(aq) à Ag+ + NO3- + Na+ + OH- à AgOH(s) + NaNO3 (aq)

Ag+ + OH- à AgOH(s) The reaction involves with the exchange of two compounds. Both silver (Ag+) and hydroxide (OH- ) are insoluble compounds, so they form a brown solid as precipitate. While nitrate (Na3-) and sodium (Na+) are soluble compounds, they remain aqueous solution.


Paparwarin S. 11-4


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