The word "reagent" is applied to "any substance used to effect chemical change in another substance for the purpose of identifying its component parts or determining its percentage composition." The following reagents are required in the methods here given:

Turmeric paper.

Iron alum (crystal or powdered form).

Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid), concentrated.


All tests in which hydrochloric acid is used should be conducted in glass or earthenware, for this acid attacks and will injure metal vessels. Care must also be taken not to bring it into contact with the flesh or clothes. If, by accident, a drop of it falls upon the clothes, ammonia, or in its absence a solution of saleratus or sal soda (washing soda), in water, should be applied promptly.

Iodine tincture.

Potassium permanganate, 1 per cent solution.

Alcohol (grain alcohol).


Boric acid or borax.

Ammonia water.

Halphen's reagent.

With the exception of the last reagent mentioned, these substances may be obtained in any pharmacy. The Halphen reagent should be prepared by a druggist, certainly not by an inexperienced person.

It is prepared as follows: An approximately 1 per cent solution of sulphur is made by dissolving about 1/3 of a tea-spoonful of precipitated sulphur in 3 or 4 ounces of carbon bisulphide. This solution mixed with an equal volume of amyl alcohol forms the reagent required by the method. A smaller quantity than that indicated by these directions may, of course, be prepared.

If turmeric paper be not available it may be made as follows: Place a bit of turmeric powder (obtainable at any drug store) in alcohol, allow it to stand for a few minutes, stir, allow it to stand again until it settles, dip a strip of filter paper into the solution, and dry it.

Determination of Preservatives

The following methods cover all of the more important commercial preservatives with the exception of sulphites and fluorides. These are quite frequently used for preserving foods—the former with meat products and the latter with fruit products—but, unfortunately, the methods for their detection are not suitable for household use.