Painting - Digital Oil
"Sugar Molecule" is the second of a series of mouthwatering paintings depicting the building blocks of favorite foods and flavors. The molecule depicted is sucrose, or table sugar, a combination of glucose and fructose. Sugars are made from carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. About 150,000,000 tonnes are produced annually.
Refined sugar was originally a luxury, but it eventually became sufficiently cheap and common enough to influence standard cuisine. Britain, the United States and the Caribbean islands have cuisines where the use of sugar became particularly prominent.
Sucrose forms a major element in confectionery and desserts. Cooks use it for sweetening — its fructose component, which has almost double the sweetness of glucose, makes sucrose distinctively sweet in comparison to other carbohydrate foods. It can also act as a food preservative when used in sufficient concentrations. Sucrose is important to the structure of many foods, including biscuits and cookies, cakes and pies, candy, and ice cream and sorbets. It is a common ingredient in many processed and so-called "junk foods."
Table sugar (sucrose) comes from plant sources. Two important sugar crops predominate: sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) and sugar beets (Beta vulgaris), in which sugar can account for 12% to 20% of the plant's dry weight. Minor commercial sugar crops include the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), sorghum (Sorghum vulgare), and the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). In fiscal year 2001/2002, worldwide production of sugar amounted to 133.9 million tonnes. Sucrose is obtained by extraction of these crops with hot water, concentration of the extract gives syrups, from which solid sucrose can be crystallized.
The first production of sugar from sugarcane took place in India. Alexander the Great's companions reported seeing "honey produced without the intervention of bees," and it remained exotic in Europe until the Arabs started producing it in Sicily and Spain. Only after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as a sweetener in Europe. The Spanish began cultivating sugarcane in the West Indies in 1506 (and in Cuba in 1523). The Portuguese first cultivated sugarcane in Brazil in 1532.
(Primary source: Wikipedia)
December 28th, 2011
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