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Albumen

water, white, heat and contain

ALBUMEN. A viscous ropy fluid, found in its greatest purity in white of eggs, from whence it derives its name. The serum or colourless part of the blood, the crystalline humours of the eye, and all animal matters, contain it in great abundance. It is also found in many vegetables, more particularly in those which undergo spontaneous fermentation. The juice of the papau tree, mushrooms, and many other fungi, contain considerable quantities. Pure albumen may he obtained by agitating the white of an egg with alcohol, which separates the aqueous particles. From the liquid thus obtained, it does not, however, appear that more than 15i per cent. of dry albumen exists; for if it be exposed to a low gradual heat, it will lose about 80 per cent. of water, and 41 of a liquid uncoagulable matter. According to the best analysis, it is composed of The most remarkable property of albumen is that of its coagulating or forming a white solid substance, by the application of gentle heat. At the temperature of 160 Fehr. it solidifies, and is then insoluble in water. On this account, its existence in water may be easily detected. According to Dr. Bostock, if water contain of its weight of albumen, it becomes opaque on boiling, by the coagulation of this substance. It may also be coagulated by a powerful voltaic battery. If,

after coagulation, a continued heat be applied, a semi-transparent horny sub stance is formed. Albumen is soluble in water by agitation, but the coagulum is not, unless artificial pressure be applied ; this may, however, be dissolved by most of the acids. It is generally supposed that a minute quantity of sulphur exists in albumen. If the serum of blood is evaporated in a silver vessel, a coat of sulphuret of silver is formed: this also occurs when a spoon has been dipped frequently in a boiled egg. Albumen is a delicate and valuable test for that fatal poison, corrosive sublimate, which it precipitates from its solution in white flocculi. It also renders the poison inert, and is therefore employed as a remedy. A valuable cement for joining earthenware, china, stone, &c. is made by mixing albumen diluted with water and quick lime. This cement will harden under water, and seta in the open air almost immediately. Albumen is very extensively employed in clarifying wines, and also in rendering leather supple. It undergoes decomposition rapidly if exposed to the atmosphere, and emits a very 1711113COUS odour. The coagulated albumen is not liable to decomposition.