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In Dune, we learn from the Duke that one of the main food sources is something called 'chemavit'. As far as I can tell it's not mentioned elsewhere in the novel(s).

Again, the Duke faced his son. “Arrakis has another advantage I almost forgot to mention. Spice is in everything here. You breathe it and eat it in almost everything. And I find that this imparts a certain natural immunity to some of the most common poisons of the Assassins’ Handbook. And the need to watch every drop of water puts all food production– yeast culture, hydroponics, chemavit, everything –under the strictest surveillance. We cannot kill off large segments of our population with poison–and we cannot be attacked this way, either. Arrakis makes us moral and ethical.”

Is there any evidence (i.e. not guesswork) as to what this substance is?

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  • 2
    And don't be telling me it's CHEMical VITamins unless you've got something to show me that proves it :-)
    – Valorum
    Sep 7, 2021 at 6:12
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    @KlausÆ.Mogensen - I've looked there and I can't find it mentioned. It goes straight from CHAUMORKY to CHENOEH.
    – Valorum
    Sep 7, 2021 at 7:17
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    The "vita" part of vitamins refers to the latin vita, which means "life" (vitamins where named as "amines necessary for life", as the first compounds happened to be made of aminoacids). So perhaps "chemavit" does not mean only vitamins but all of the nutrients needed for life.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 7, 2021 at 9:00
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    @SJuan76 - And indeed that seems quite likely.
    – Valorum
    Sep 7, 2021 at 17:48
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    Reads like a play on the word aquavit to me.
    – Lexible
    Sep 8, 2021 at 17:50

1 Answer 1

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I have the 6-volume (Dune through Chapterhouse) kindle book, which includes appendices. Text-searching for "chemavit" gives only the one passage you quoted.

I also have a searchable copy of "The Dune Encyclopedia", which has no occurances of "chemavit".

So there seems to be no evidence of the type you're looking for.

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    I'm not really sure this answers the question. I did mention in comments that I've already checked those sources though,
    – Valorum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 12:30
  • @Valorum Yes thanks! I see you checked the Dune Encyclopedia for an entry on chemavit, but I wasn't sure if you searched the complete text. If it's never mentioned in Frank Herbert's books or in the Dune Encyclopedia, I'm not sure what else could count as "evidence". Interviews with Herbert? Even if he said something informal about his intentions with "chemavit", it wouldn't really be canonical. Nov 1, 2021 at 14:32
  • Anything, really. I'd be happy to accept (for example) an interview with Herbert, something in his son's writings or if he's used it in any other of his non-Dune books.
    – Valorum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:09

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