RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Uric acid. Polarised light micrograph of crystals of uric acid (2,6,8-trihydroxypurine), a chemical formed in the body by the metabolism of proteins & which is the cause of gout and kidney stones. Uric acid is made of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). It has the chemical formula C5H4N4O3 and is both colourless and tasteless. Uric acid decomposes into urea, ammonia and carbon dioxide when heated above 250 degrees celsius. Uric acid is present in small quantities in urine. Gout and kidney stones occur when the metabolism of uric acid is disturbed, leading to higher levels within the body. Magnification: x40 at 35mm size.
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