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DMSO - What is it ?

What is DMSO?

Dimethyl sulfoxide, or commonly known as DMSO is a natural chemical compound derived from trees as a by-product from the manufacturing of paper. It is composed of two methyl groups, a sulfur and oxygen atom. First synthesized in 1866 by a Russian chemist, Alexander Saytzeff. He noted that the substance was colourless, felt oily to the touch, looked like mineral oil when poured from the test tube, and left an aftertaste similar to clams or oysters. Chemists were intrigued with it's ability to be combined with almost any chemical that was dropped in the liquid. It was an excellent solvent, useful degreaser, paint thinner, and antifreeze.

During the late 1940's industrial chemists were looking for better solvents and ways to utilize by-products from trees, DMSO started to be recognized as a excellent product to study further. A group in Great Britain demonstrated that the solvent would protect red blood cells and other tissues against freezing conditions.

Commercial development of DMSO started in the 1950's by Crown Zellerbach, a large American paper manufacturing company who became the largest producer of DMSO in the world at the time.

In United States DMSO is derived from lignin, the cement substance of trees, In Europe and other places it has been synthesized from coal, petroleum, or other organic substances.

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