Why do ''Onions'' burn your eyes, and make them water?!


Question: because their are sulphuric compounds in the onion.. not all onions do this though. the sulphuric compounds are oil

Onions and eye irritation
As onions are sliced, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down sulfides and generate sulfenic acids (amino acid sulfoxides). Sulphenic acids are unstable and decompose into a volatile gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. The gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it reacts with the water to form a diluted solution of sulfuric acid. This acid irritates the nerve endings in the eye, making them sting. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant.[6]

Supplying ample water to the reaction prevents the gas from reaching the eyes. Eye irritation can, therefore, be avoided by cutting onions under running water or submerged in a basin of water. Rinsing the onion and leaving it wet while chopping may also be effective. Another way to avoid irritation is by not cutting off the root of the onion, or by doing it last, as the root of the onion has a higher concentration of enzymes.[citation needed] Chilling or freezing onions prevents the enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated. Using a sharp blade to chop onions will limit the cell damage and the release of enzymes that drive the irritation response. Having a fire, such as a candle or a burner, will help as the heat and flames will draw in the onion gas, burn it, and then send it up with the rest of the flame exhaust. In the heat, the chemical changes such that it no longer irritates the eyes.

The volume of sulphenic acids released, and the irritation effect, differs among Allium species.



Answers: because their are sulphuric compounds in the onion.. not all onions do this though. the sulphuric compounds are oil

Onions and eye irritation
As onions are sliced, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down sulfides and generate sulfenic acids (amino acid sulfoxides). Sulphenic acids are unstable and decompose into a volatile gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. The gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it reacts with the water to form a diluted solution of sulfuric acid. This acid irritates the nerve endings in the eye, making them sting. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant.[6]

Supplying ample water to the reaction prevents the gas from reaching the eyes. Eye irritation can, therefore, be avoided by cutting onions under running water or submerged in a basin of water. Rinsing the onion and leaving it wet while chopping may also be effective. Another way to avoid irritation is by not cutting off the root of the onion, or by doing it last, as the root of the onion has a higher concentration of enzymes.[citation needed] Chilling or freezing onions prevents the enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated. Using a sharp blade to chop onions will limit the cell damage and the release of enzymes that drive the irritation response. Having a fire, such as a candle or a burner, will help as the heat and flames will draw in the onion gas, burn it, and then send it up with the rest of the flame exhaust. In the heat, the chemical changes such that it no longer irritates the eyes.

The volume of sulphenic acids released, and the irritation effect, differs among Allium species.


Because the gases in the oninon are released when it is sliced/ chopped/ peeled. The gases then cause a chemical reaction with the chemical covering on your eyes that protects your pupils, and then yours eyes water. I hope this helps!

Cus ur a crybaby

Mighty Tess is correct in her explanation. I find that putting onions in the fridge reduces the effect of those gases and you are less likely to shed tears.

The gas released when you cut an onion turns to sulphuric acid and creates the sharp pain when cutting them. No one seems to have any idea how to stop that from happening. Although there are a lot of opinions out there. Personally, I peel and cut mine in a sink of water and toss the cut pieces into the food processor and pulse if I want the pieces smaller. Don't touch your eyes with your hands in the meantime.





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