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Coca Cola under the microscope. Facts that will put an end to the question: drink or not drink

Coca Cola под микроскопом

Coca-Cola ("Coca-Cola") is a non-alcoholic carbonated drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company.

Coca-Cola was recognized as the most expensive brand in the world in 2005-2015 in the rating of the international research agency Interbrand. The drink is sold in more than 200 countries. According to some statistics, 94% of the inhabitants of the entire planet have at least once heard of the Coca-Cola brand.

In 2006, in Turkey, for the first time in the world, Coca-Cola launched a lawsuit over the composition of the drink. It is usually written on the label that Coca-Cola includes sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, caramel, carbon dioxide and some kind of “extract”. This extract aroused suspicion. And Coca-Cola was forced to reveal the secret of what Cola is actually made of. It turned out to be a liquid obtained from the insect Cochineal (Cochineal).

Coca Cola под микроскопом

Cochineal is an insect that lives on the Canary Islands and in Mexico. This insect is attached by a proboscis to a plant, sucks juice and never moves. For the insect cochineal prepare special fields. These insects in the field are collected by villagers ...

A pigment called carmine is derived from the females and eggs of these insects, which stains Coca-Cola in brown. The dried look of the cochineal looks like raisins, but it’s actually an insect!

Now you know what the word "Coca" means in the name of the drink. And now I will tell you what is hidden behind the word "Cola". To do this, I will tell you the story of an employee who worked at Coca-Cola for 23 years.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

The raw materials for cola are licorice roots and various mammals, including mice, feed on these roots. Large cola companies harvest tons of these roots using excavators. When assembling tons of roots, they are not able to pull out mice.

Therefore, solytkovy roots are pressed along with what was among the roots.

Only after this the remnants of wool, paws and so on are pulled out of this mass!

Because the drink has a dark shade, it is not noticeable that the blood and gastric fluid of mice is also present in it. Of course, cola giants are trying to neutralize harmful substances with chemicals.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

For 23 years, the employee who told this story has never drank a glass of cola.

Then judge for yourself.

Scientists from Washington decomposed into the components of one of the ingredients of Coca-Cola. It turned out that caramel is not melted sugar at all, but a chemical mixture of sugar, ammonia and sulfites, obtained at high pressure and temperature. It can cause cancer of the lungs, liver, thyroid gland and leukemia.

It also turned out that alcohol is included in the soda: this is the basis of the secret “7 X" supplement. A few drops of aromatic oils, coriander and cinnamon are added to alcohol.

And the insect liquid cochineal - carmine did not pass certification at all, therefore, in some countries they do not produce cola at all.

How the body reacts to cola

Coca Cola под микроскопом

After 10 minutes

10 teaspoons of sugar will “hit” your system (this is the daily recommended rate). You are not drawn to tear, because phosphoric acid suppresses the effect of sugar.

In 20 minutes

There will be a jump in insulin in the blood. The liver turns all sugar into fats.

In 40 minutes

Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils will dilate. Blood pressure will increase because the liver releases more sugar into the blood. Adenosine receptors are blocked, thereby preventing drowsiness.

After 45 minutes

Your body will increase the production of dopamine hormone, which stimulates the brain's pleasure center. The same principle of action in heroin.

After an hour

Phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your intestines, speeding up your metabolism. Increased excretion of calcium through urine.

More than an hour later

Diuretic action comes into play. Calcium, magnesium and zinc, which are found in your bones, are excreted, as are sodium, electrolyte and water.

More than an hour and a half later

You become irritable or lethargic. All water contained in Coca-Cola is excreted through urine. The active ingredient in Coca-Cola is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. To transport Coca-Cola concentrate, the truck must be equipped with special containers designed for highly corrosive materials.

Coca-Cola Light detailed decaffeinated

Aqua carbonated, E150d, E952, E950, E951, E338, E330, Aromas, E211

1. Aqua carbonated - sparkling water.

The presence of carbon dioxide in water stimulates gastric secretion, increases the acidity of gastric juice and provokes flatulence - abundant gas production. In addition, not spring water is used, but tap water passed through special filters.

2. E952 (Cyclamic Acid and Na, K, Ca salts), Cyclamic acid and its sodium, potassium and calcium salts.

Sugar substitute. Cyclamate is a synthetic chemical, has a sweet taste 200 times the sweetness of sugar, and is used as an artificial sweetener. It was banned for use in human food, as it is a carcinogen that causes cancer.

In 1969, by order of the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was banned for use in the United States, as it has been proven that it, like saccharin and aspartame, causes bladder cancer in rats. The same year is banned in Canada.

In 1975, banned in Japan, South Korea and Singapore. It is forbidden to use in the beverage industry in Indonesia. In 1979, the World Health Organization rehabilitated cyclamates, recognizing them as harmless.

* Safe dose: 0.8 g per day.

3. E150d (Caramel IV - Ammonia-sulphite process, dye)

Burnt sugar, obtained by processing sugar at certain temperatures, with or without the addition of chemicals. In this case, ammonium sulfate is added.

4. E950 (Acesulfame Potassium, Acesulfame Potassium)

200 times sweeter than sucrose. It contains methyl ether, which worsens the functioning of the cardiovascular system, and aspartic acid, which has an exciting effect on the nervous system and can, over time, become addictive. Acesulfame is poorly soluble. Products with this sweetener are not recommended for children, pregnant and lactating women.

* Safe dose: 1 g per day.

5. E951 (Aspartame)

Sweetener for diabetics. Chemically unstable: decomposes into methanol and phenylalanine with increasing temperature. Methanol (methyl alcohol) is very dangerous: 5-10 ml can lead to death of the optic nerve and irreversible blindness, 30 ml can lead to death. In warm soda and aspartame, it is transformed into formaldehyde, which is the strongest carcinogen.

Documented cases of aspartame poisoning: loss of touch, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, memory loss, blurry vision, rash, seizures, loss of vision, joint pain, depression, cramping, diseases of the genital organs, hearing loss.

Aspartame can also trigger the following diseases: brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, bazedova disease, chronic fatigue, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, mental retardation and tuberculosis.

* Safe dose: 3 g per day.

6. E338 (Orthophosphoric Acid, phosphoric acid) - chemical formula: H3 PO4.

Fire and explosion hazard. Causes eye and skin irritation. Application: for the production of phosphate salts of ammonium, sodium, calcium, manganese and aluminum, as well as for organic synthesis, in the production of activated carbon and film, for the production of refractories, refractory binders, ceramics, glass, fertilizers, synthetic detergents, in medicine, metalworking for cleaning and polishing metals, textile for the production of fabrics with fire retardant impregnation, oil, match industry.

Food phosphoric acid is used in the production of sparkling water and for the production of salts (powders for the manufacture of cookies). It interferes with the absorption of calcium and iron in the body, which can lead to weakening of bone tissue, osteoporosis. Other side effects: thirst, skin rash.

7. E330 (Citric Acid, citric acid) - colorless crystals.

Widely distributed in nature. Citric acid is obtained from shag and fermentation of carbohydrates (sugar, molasses). Used in the pharmaceutical and food industries. Citric acid salts (citrates) are used in the food industry, as acids, preservatives, stabilizers, and in medicine for blood preservation.

8. Aromas - it is not known what aromatic additives

9. E211 (Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Benzoate)

Expectorant, food preservative. Benzoic acid (E210), sodium benzoate (E211) and potassium benzoate (E212) are introduced into some foods as bactericidal and antifungal agents. These include jams, fruit juices, marinades and fruit yoghurts. It is not recommended to use asthmatics and people sensitive to aspirin.

A recent study by Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at the University of Sheffield, England, found this compound to cause significant DNA damage.

According to Piper, sodium benzoate, which is an active component of the preservatives used in most carbonated drinks, does not destroy parts of DNA, but deactivates them. This can lead to cirrhosis and degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Composition and recipe

The components of the "classic" version of Coca-Cola are:

  • purified sparkling water;
  • sugar;
  • natural dye caramel;
  • phosphoric acid acidity regulator;
  • natural flavors;
  • caffeine.

The nutritional value

Nutritional Information (per 100 ml)
Calorie content 42 kcal
Squirrels 0
Fats 0
Carbohydrates 10.6 g
Sodium <11.0 mg
Potassium 1.0 mg
Calcium 4.0 mg
Magnesium 1.0 mg
Phosphorus about 17 mg

According to the manufacturer, at the end of 2016, 1.96 liters of water was needed to prepare 1 liter of Coca-Cola.

The exact composition of Coca-Cola's natural spices (besides the ingredients mentioned above) is a trade secret. The original copy of the composition is stored in the main depository of SunTrust Bank in Atlanta. His predecessor, Trust Company, was the IPO insurer of The Coca-Cola Company in 1919.

A popular myth says that only two leaders can have access to the composition, while each can have access to only half of the information. The truth is that although Coca-Cola has a rule restricting access to only two leaders, each of them knows the whole composition, and the other, in addition to the two established, knew the manufacturing process.


  • The colorless version of Coca-Cola was produced specifically for Soviet Marshal G.K. Zhukov.
  • The huge Coca-Cola sign, located above the pavilion of the Coca-Cola World in Atlanta, consists of 1407 ordinary bulbs and 1906 "linear" neon lamps. Sign height - 9 m, width - 8 m, weight - 12.5 t.
  • Coca-Cola is the longest running sponsor of the Olympic Games. Coca-Cola's collaboration with the Olympic Movement began in 1928.
  • Drawing Santa Claus for The Coca-Cola Company in 1931, a Swedish-born artist, Haddon Sandblom, depicted him not as a cheerful old elf, as was customary then, but as a cheerful old man with rosy cheeks and a thick white beard. Years later, Santa Sandbloma became the well-known and beloved personification of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
  • The largest Coca-Cola sign is located in the Chilean city of Arica. It is laid out on a hilltop of 70 thousand bottles from Coca-Cola, its size is 122 × 40 m.
  • The first Coca-Cola outdoor billboard, drawn in 1904, is still in its place in Cartersville, Georgia.
  • The pH of Coca-Cola is 3.0 ± 0.3.
  • In 2011, the National Geographic TV channel showed the plant, its work and the secret of making the Coca-Cola drink.
  • In 1989, Coca-Cola was the first foreign company to advertise its brand on Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow.
  • In 2015, in the Vologda Oblast, a regional law came into force prohibiting the sale of tonic drinks. Coca-Cola was among the drinks sold from the age of 18 upon presentation of a passport, and cocoa was also on the list.
  • For the preparation of Coca-Cola, the company spends about 200 billion liters of water annually.
  • Coca-Cola marketers claim that the very phrase “Coca-Cola” is considered the second most popular and recognizable among the inhabitants of the planet in the world. The first position is steadily occupied by the word “okay”.
  • Most Coca-Cola is consumed in Iceland and Mexico.

Porphyrophora hamelii (Brandt in Brandt & Ratzeburg, 1833)

Coca Cola под микроскопом

One of the first written mentions of cochineal we find in the writings of Armenian historians. So, Movses Khorenatsi (5th century AD) writes: “Ayrarat has mountains and fields, and the abundance of everything, and Lake Gailotskoe and a worm from sesame root for decoration in red.” Lazar Parpetsi (5th century AD) also mentions cochineal in his History: "Also, the desired plain of Airarat produces reed plant roots for good reason, it is not in vain that it grows red worms on them, giving them to lovers for profit and luxury. " Numerous testimonies of medieval historians, in particular the Arab ones about cochineal have also been preserved, but here it does not seem advisable to quote all of them.

In modern scientific literature, cochineal was described by F. F. Brandt as a new species in 1833. Brandt named the species after Hamel. Therefore, the name of the species in Latin is spelled Porphyrophora hamelii (Brandt, 1833), although according to the nomenclature commandments the correct version should be spelled Porphyrophora hamelii (Brandt in Brandt & Ratzeburg, 1833).

It all started with the fact that the archimandrite of the Echmiadzin Monastery Isaak Ter-Grigoryan (aka Saak Tsakhkarar) handed over to the head governor of Georgia, the Caucasus and Transcaucasia Baron G.V. Rosen (by whose name one of the most beautiful sparses of Armenia is named) a number of coalesced. Rosen sent the cochineal to Petersburg, to the Imperial Academy of Sciences, where academician I. Kh. Gamel began to study it. Here I will be a little distracted and remind you of an interesting detail in the biography of Academician Hamel. When in 1853 he was seconded to the United States, they took a receipt from him “to not dare to eat human meat in America” :) ) What is the reason for such a stupid prescription is not clear ... Let's move on to cochineal. Gamel does a great job of revealing historical information, conducts linguistic analysis, collects data on the biology and distribution of cochineal, and in 1833 sends his work "On Ararat Cochineal" to the Academy of Sciences. The work, by the way, is very interesting and its relevance remains to this day. The article was in German, and in 1835 a Russian version was published. Both articles can be downloaded at the end of the post. Below is a scan from the Russian version of Hamel’s article. We see the first scientific image of cochineal, a very decent quality by the way.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

Once again I will be distracted a little and I will give a drawing of cochineal from the book of Alishan (1890) Ayrarat. The figure is signed as a vordan karmir, i.e. Ararat cochineal, but in fact a different kind of cochineal is shown here, most likely it is a Mexican cochineal (Coccus cacti) from a completely different genus. It is clear that in the distant 1890 that Alishan in distant Venice had no opportunity to get acquainted with our cochineal :)


Ararat cochineal is part of the family of Giant and carminiferous worms, or margarodids (Margarodidae), the superfamily of worms and scale insects (Coccoidea), the suborder Sternorrhyncha, the order Homoptera. According to various authors, the family consists of 10 to 70 genera. The genus Porphyrophora contains again, according to various authors, from 30 to 50 species. There are three representatives of the genus in Armenia - Porphyrophora hamelii (Brandt), Porphyrophora tritici (Bodenheimer) and Porphyrophora monticola (Borchsenius). It is worth noting that the genus, and the family as a whole in Armenia, is almost not studied. In Soviet times, more or less detailed studies were conducted on the Armenian cochineal, but no large-scale studies were carried out by genus or family as a whole, especially during the years of independence.


Armenian cochineal is common in Armenia and the adjacent regions of Turkey and Iran. In Armenia, it is distributed mainly in the Ararat Valley, focal and very fragmented. It can be found only in salt marshes with a specific chemical composition, at heights of 800-900 meters above sea level. m. Below is a typical salt marsh where the Armenian cochineal lives.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

The cochineal fodder plant is two plants from the cereal family - coastal (Aeluropus littoralis) and reed (Phragmites australis). I really haven’t seen a cochineal on a reed, but if many authors claim this, I won’t argue. There is also an indication that cochineal is found on bluegrass (Poa sp.), But it is very possible that the indication is unverified and unreliable.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Coastal plant close-up - Aeluropus littoralis

Noteworthy is the presence in all parts of the insects of the red magenta pigment Carminic acid (formula C22H20O13), from which the Carmine dye is obtained. There is an assumption that carmine is produced by cochineal as a protective or deterrent, but the presence of many cochineal enemies makes one doubt the credibility of this assumption.

The cochineal color is certainly unique, it is a pity that the photos cannot fully convey this particular shade of carmine color.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

Most likely, the generic name of the name Porphyrophora, which means porphyron, i.e. giving a purple color. But it is possible that Brandt chose a generic name as a synonym for regal, another meaning of the word porphyry. For me, this royal insect certainly deserves such an epithet. Because of its unique color, carmine was valued highly in ancient times. It was used for coloring carpets, cloth, for the manufacture of drawing paints. Now it is used as a food coloring. There is information about the medical use of carmine. Interestingly, in the natural population it is very rare (frequency 1: 100000) that absolutely white albino individuals are found (source: Mkrtchyan L.P., Sarkisov R.N. (1985)).

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (female)

Morphology and life cycle

Ararat cochineal is characterized by pronounced sexual dimorphism. In addition, insects go through several stages before becoming adults and in the initial stages, males and females are similar to each other. There is an assumption that females are a kind of neotenic form, i.e. during evolution, they “froze” in the larval stage.

Cochineal spends almost its entire life underground. Only in the fall after the insects have passed into the adult stage, they come out from under the soil for only one day for reproduction. After fertilization, the males die in a few hours, and the females again burrow in the soil and lay their eggs, and a few days after the laying of the eggs, they also die. Unfertilized females also burrow into the ground, but come out in the following days for fertilization attempts. Cochineal animals are characterized by both bisexual and parthenogenetic development, i.e. unfertilized females can also lay eggs, from which only females then hatch. I note that the diploid set of females is 14, and males 13 chromosomes. The mechanism of sexual differentiation XX-X0.

Armenian cochineal eggs are elongated-oval, dark red, 0.4-0.7 mm long, 0.2-0.3 mm wide. They are located inside the egg-shaped cotton bag. On average, one bag contains about 500 eggs.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (ovorum saccum)

In the spring, at the end of April or beginning of May, larvae of the 1st stage or strollers that get to the surface come out of the eggs, look for a feed plant and attach to its rhizome. Their body is elongated, narrowed anteriorly, widely rounded behind, dark red, 0.2-0.8 mm long and 0.2 mm wide. Segmentation is more or less clearly expressed. The eyes are simple, large, oval, located between the coxae of the forelegs. Antennae 6-segmented. A pair of long setae departs from the end of the abdomen. The attached larvae begin to grow and change their shape from elongated-oval to pear-shaped. Changed larvae are called stage 2 larvae. Their body is narrowed in front, and greatly expanding towards the back, which gives the larva a pear-shaped shape. The length of larvae of the 2nd age is from 0.7-1.2 mm, width 0.3-0.8 mm. The eyes are simple, rounded, located on the sides of the first segment of the antennae. Antennae 6-segmented. In the pear-shaped larva, the cephalothorax and all parts of the abdomen are fused together, i.e. the body is not segmented, which is how it differs from the larva of the 1st stage. I do not have photos of the larvae of these stages.

By the end of May, molting of larvae begins, as a result of which they lose their limbs and antennae and begin to encyst.

The 3rd stage larva has an encysted, wide-oval body, 1-3 mm long and 1-2 mm wide. The eyes are simple. Antennae and legs absent.

Clusters of cysts are clearly visible in the form of tuberous growths on the roots of the host plant.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (larval cysta)

The larva of the female of the 4th stage is also encysted, similar to the larva of the 3rd stage, only larger. The body is elongated spherical, length 3-7 mm, width 3-5 mm. Photo of an encysted larva of a female.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (larval cysta)

In late August and early September, the exit of motile larvae of males begins from a part of cysts.

The larva of the male of the 4th stage has a size of 2-5 mm in length and 1-3 mm in width. The body is segmented, the covers are elastic. The eyes are simple. Antenna 11-12 segmented. As can be seen from the description, the male larva of the 4th stage differs sharply from the female larva of the same stage, but almost does not differ from the adult female. The main difference between the male larva and the adult female is smaller and more flat, elongated, tapering to the rear of the body shape of the male larva. Such are the interesting nuances of biology.

After a few days, the mobile larvae of the males burrow into the soil again and form a nymph.

The male nymph has an elongated, clearly segmented body with a shaped head, chest, and abdomen; there are rudiments of wings, limbs, and copulative apparatus. During the period of the phase of the mobile larva of the male, the larvae of the females remain in their previous encysted state, continuing nutrition and growth. In the first half of September, the emergence of mature insects on the soil surface begins. Insects appear along with the first rays of the sun.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (larval cysta)

Adult females are oval, wingless, inactive, dark cherry insects. Their body is segmented, and does not have a clear differentiation into the head, chest and abdomen (which is typical for most insects), the integuments are elastic. The oral apparatus is reduced, i.e., they do not feed in adulthood. The eyes of the females are simple, convex. Antenna 11-12 segmented. Body length from 2 to 12 mm, width 1-6 mm. On average, one female weighs 27 mg.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (female), ventral and dorsal view

Front pair of legs of digging type. Claws are needed to dig into the soil.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

Adult males look like small flies with a body length of 2-4 mm and a width of 0.5-1 mm, very mobile. Weight on average 2 mg. They have one pair of transparent wings and well-developed legs. The wings have a purple border along the front edge. The oral apparatus is underdeveloped, they do not have a proboscis, therefore they do not eat in adulthood, and therefore their life expectancy is limited to several hours. The eyes are large, faceted. Antennae 13-segmented. From the penultimate segment of the abdomen, a bundle of white wax threads departs.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (male)

As already said, adult insects come to the surface of the soil early in the morning and by noon all the females burrow back into the soil. After reaching the surface, the females take a characteristic posture with the front and rear ends of the body tucked under them and a curved back. Having found a female, the male is located at the rear edge of her back. After that, the female straightens and begins to crawl. In the process of movement, insemination occurs.

Video copulation

Intriguing copulation photos

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (in copula)
Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (in copula)

After insemination, the male goes in search of another female, and the abandoned female begins to dig into the soil.

Coca Cola под микроскопом

After burying in the soil, the female forms an egg sac in which she lays eggs and dies.

Egg sack cochineal.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Porphyrophora hamelii (ovorum saccum)

Thus ends the cochineal development phase and repeats itself from year to year.

Natural Enemies Cochineal

In addition to humans, the enemies of cochineal are ticks (Tyrophagus putrescentiae), beetles (Nephus bipunctatus, Lithophilus bipustulatus, Sepedophilus bipustulatus), ants (Tapinoma erraticum, Messor sp., Pheidole pallidula) and birds (common starling).

In the photographs below we clearly see one of its main enemies - ants.

Coca Cola под микроскопом
Coca Cola под микроскопом


In the latest edition of the Red Book of Armenia and IUCN, the cochineal is registered with the status of CR, that is, the species is in critical condition. For the protection of cochineals, two preserves were created in Soviet times, designed to protect cochineal habitats.

Most of the information on cochineal is taken from the book of Mkrtchyan L.P., Sarkisov R.N. (1985) Biology and reproduction of Ararat cochineal. Er .: Ed. AN Arm. SSR and articles Ter-Grigoryan MA (1976) Morphology of the Ararat cochineal Porphyrophora hamelii. In the journal. Biological Journal of Armenia, vol. XXIX, 3.

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