Carbon monoxide – Toxic but vital


Being the first gas report of the New Year, we have returned to school and asked leading academics for their take on January’s gas of choice, carbon monoxide.

With a simple chemical formula that bellies its complexity, CO is often remembered for its rare but poisonous potential, rather than its significance as an industrial gas.

However, as we reveal, CO is equally remarkable for the applications it answers to.

Carbon monoxide in its oldest form was first used in the smoking of fish and meats. While modified atmospheric packaging (MAP) still harnesses this today, a far larger amount is consumed through calibration gas mixtures, environmental monitoring systems, industrial hygiene gas mixtures and most importantly, in the manufacturing of metal carbonyls.

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