I am sure you can link two of the three phrases in the title of this blog post but what about tattoo removal?
It turns out that one of the uses of the blister beetle’s poisonous secretion (made up of cantharidins) is for the removal of tattoos! Other uses include the treatment of viral skin infections and its infamous (and dangerous) reputation as an aphrodisiac, in which context some of you may know the blister beetle by the moniker “Spanish Fly.” Cantharidins are poisonous to humans in all but very small doses, with a lethal dose of just around 10 mg.
You may be aware that TCM has a history that is thousands of years old but it has been only very recently that researchers have sought to characterize the chemical components of the medications used in the practice of TCM. Discovery and characterization of the active natural compounds in these herb-, animal-, and mineral-based medicines and dietary supplements is a very active field that can lead researchers to the discovery of new disease treatments, for example, through development of conventional medicines based on the discoveries.
In addition, our spectral interpretation software (Thermo Scientific Mass Frontier Software) was used to interpret MS/MS spectra by assigning structures to the fragment ions. In all, 21 cantharidins were identified, 16 of which were discovered in blister beetles for the first time. I highly recommend that you view the poster at the above link for more details on the method and results obtained.
The poster I’ve highlighted here, of course, wasn’t the only interesting poster that I encountered at ASMS! You can view and download all of our posters from the show, as well as a host of other valuable information, on our ASMS 2015 poster webpage.
We also have some additional resources that I’d like to point you to if you’re interested in discovery of natural compounds, or in other facets of natural compounds or dietary supplements analysis: