Congener (from Latin congener "of the same race or kind," from com- "together" + gener-, stem of genus "kind") has several different meanings depending on the field in which it is used. Colloquially, it is used to mean a person or thing like another, in character or action.
- There are 209 congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) as well as 209 congeners of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).
- Congeners of oleic acids can modify cell membrane behavior protecting against tumors or having effects on blood pressure.
- Congeners refer to the other elements in a group in the periodic table. For example, the congeners of the Group 11 element copper are silver and gold. Similarly, sodium chloride and potassium chloride may be considered congeners.
In genetics, congenic organisms are organisms with very similar genomes, except for a small fraction. For example, recombinant congenic mice strains are produced in laboratories as a tool to study genetic disease.
In alcoholic beverages
In the alcoholic beverages industry, congeners are substances produced during fermentation. These substances include small amounts of chemicals such as acetone, acetaldehyde, and other higher alcohols, esters, and aldehydes (e.g. propanol, glycols, ethyl acetate). Congeners are responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled alcoholic beverages, and contribute to the taste of non-distilled drinks. It has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a hangover.
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