What Are Reagents in Chemistry?

Reagents are used all of the time in organic chemistry, biology, and even in everyday life (via some testing kits). Despite this, you likely don’t yet know what a reagent is, and that’s probably why you’re reading this article.

A reagent is a substance or compound that is added to another system to set off a chemical reaction, used for various purposes. For example, reagents are used all of the time to test whether or not another substance is in a given solution, for example, if the coronavirus antibodies are present in an individual’s bloodstream. 

There are many different types of reagents out there, some of which use the body’s own fluids, such as a pregnancy or blood test. So, with this in mind, the remainder of this short blog post will discuss more on reagents and the many uses widely available.

How are reagents used in chemistry?

We’ve previously touched upon this; however, reagents are used in chemistry to trigger a chemical reaction. The organic or inorganic substance allows you to test for other substances in a given solution, proving useful for testing in multiple experiments.

There are numerous reagents, including a metal-pyridine complex, a hydrogen peroxide mix, and various others, all of which have names such as Collins, Fenton’s, Gringard’s, and Millon’s reagent. If you’re interested in how these work and the different uses of these, we recommend researching a little more online! This article, on the other hand, is just covering the basics.

Testing kits

Finally, there are also reagent kits available to test for substances, often used to detect illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or cannabis. These tests can be taken or used to analyze a given substance, with results available more or less immediately. 

In the current climate of Covid-19, there are also coronavirus kits being used, with these kits testing whether or not certain antibodies are present in the body. If the antibodies are present, this means the body has begun fighting the virus, and therefore, has tested positive for Covid-19.

These tools are invaluable, especially at the moment, allowing people to isolate and social distance from others in the hope that the world will soon return back to normal. Or at least we can hope!

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