The fascinating reason onions make you cry, but not as much as they used to

Why does chopping onions tend to end in tears?

It’s a pain we’ve all experienced but few understand – that’s where Twitter expert James Wong comes in handy though.

The self-proclaimed botany geek has posted a thread about why the bulb causes people to cry, and it turns out it all stems from the plant’s chemical defences.

So the slicing causes plant cells to rupture, releasing a sulphur-based chemical that reacts with your eyes and nose by turning into sulphuric acid – and the chemical is multi-functional too.

So the chemical is also anti-bacterial – worth remembering if you get a cut out in the onion fields.

But it turns out the plant has to be careful with the chemical too.

So until the onions are cut the chemical, which is toxic to the plant itself and causes your eyes to stream, isn’t even there – with great power, comes great responsibility.

Before you go complaining about cutting onions too much though, spare a thought for your elders.

The rain might be cleaner, but the onions ain’t what they used to be.

- Press Association

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