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Book Review Bioorganic Chemistry. By H. Dugas and C. Penney

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topics, whose treatment is far from being uniformly comprehensive. Five chapters are devoted to approaches to the
description of the structure and bonding in solids on the
basis of the pseudopotential theory, and of these A . Zunger’s particularly exhaustive and comprehensible contribution stands out from the point of view of the practical
chemist. Zunger demonstrates using numerous examples
the significance and usefulness of orbital radii, e.y. for
classifying a large number of crystal structures, and shows
how the orbital radii are connected with some classical
concepts such as electronegativities and atomic radii. On
the other hand, the description of the formalism for the elementary quantitative theory of the chemical bond is
somewhat abstract and very difficult to follow, owing to
the lack of detailed examples (this theory can be used for
practical applications with the aid of a pocket calculator).
W. A. Harrison’s own book on this topic must be considered the most important reference in this connection. The
other chapters deal with ways of applying some semiquantitative methods of the MO theory to the question of bonding in solids, these methods being derived from molecular
chemistry, where they have been used with great success.
Such approaches will certainly gain importance in the future, even though the purists among the theoreticians d o
not entirely take them seriously. Reminiscences of the classical ionic model of chemical bonding in solids and a historical survey by L. Puuling, extremely enjoyable as vacation reading, complete the book, which on the whole
creates a favorable impression. Despite the suggestion in
the preface, however, the book cannot compete with Pauling’s own “Nature of the Chemical Bond” and will not become its successor in the literature. This is not so much because of its contents as because it necessarily lacks the didactically unified form of Puuling’s textbook, being a collection of 13 separate contributions (with another 13 to
come in the second volume).
Huns-Jorg Deiseroth [NB 570 IE]
Bioorganic Chemistry. By H . Dugas and C. Penney. Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1981. xii, 508 pp., bound, DM 59.00.
It i s probably true to say that few chemists know precisely the meaning of “bioorganic chemistry”, and it was
therefore wise to provide the subtitle (A Chemical Approach to Enzyme Action) and to give immediately (in the
Preface) a definition of this recent discipline:
“Bioorganic chemistry” is the application of the principles, models, and methods of organic chemistry to the understanding of biological processes.
The field is sketched broadly with skilfully selected examples in an introductory chapter. Studies of enzymatic
processes on natural systems are described side by side
with investigations on simple synthetic models which make
it possible to study effects without the disturbing influence
of accompanying parameters. Knowledge of the complexforming properties of molecules, on the one hand, and of
enzymes and enzyme models on the other hand, should
lead to structure-activity relationships invaluable for the
directed synthesis of biologically active compounds such
as pharmacological agents. Knowledge obtained on enzymes and models concerning reactivity, with the involvement of electronic, steric, and stereoelectronic effects and
neighboring group effects, should make it possible to design tailor-made molecules whose catalytic activity at least
approaches that of biological systems.
798
Not only the contents but also the similar classification
of the next two chapters demonstrate the close correlation
between the basic building blocks of life, nucleic acids and
proteins.
The structure and chemical reactivity of the monomeric
nucleotide and amino-acid units are compared with one
another and brought into relationship with problems of the
synthesis and biosynthesis of oligomers. What I believe to
be particularly useful for students, at whom this book is
also directed, is that analogies from “ordinary” organic
chemistry are brought in again and again for the sake of
clarification. The chapter on nucleic acids ends with an excellent digression on the chemical evolution of organic
molecules, in which light is also thrown on the problem of
the origin of chiral molecules.
Using all the tools of organic chemistry, e. g . conformational analysis and stereoelectronic control of reactions,
the authors then acquaint the reader by means of selected
examples with the problems of enzyme catalysis and prepare him for the chapter on enzyme models.
On the examples of chiral crown ethers, polymers, and
micelles it is demonstrated here in what manifold ways
these “artificial enzymes” perform selective complexing
reactions, stereoselective transport, and catalytic functions.
Also inspired by nature are biomimetic reactions, which
are explained using phenol oxidations and terpene cyclizations.
The next chapter deals with the role of metal ions in enzyme reactions. The choice of the very well researched
iron-containing hemoglobin and of vitamin Biz, and also
of suitable synthetic models is very appropriate from the
didactic point of view. Regrettably, there is no mention of
photosynthesis as an important primary biochemical process.
The concept of comparing natural systems with artificial
models is followed consistently in the last chapter on coenzymes with emphasis on chemoselectivity and stereoselectivity.
Summarizing, it may be said that whereas for students
the book offers a good introduction into the field, the advanced reader will also find a wealth of suggestions and
see many problems in new perspectives. A literature index
which contains mainly review articles is useful for identifying the original literature. The book can also be recommended because of its relatively low price.
Frunz Peter Monrforts [NB 569 IE]
Polarographische Analyse. By M. Geissler. Verlag Chemie,
Weinheim 1981. 194 pp., bound, DM 73.00.
This monograph is divided into seven chapters. After a
brief historical introduction it covers as much of the theory
of electrochemical kinetics as is needed by the practical
analytical chemist. The principles of the various voltametric methods are discussed on the basis of the 1976 IUPAC
recommendations for electrochemical analysis. From the
point of view of practical trace analysis, the author does
not put enough stress on the methods essential for this type
of analysis. For example, inverse voltammetry, which is
particularly important for trace analysis, should have been
described in much greater detail, while a mere mention
would have sufficed in the case of oscillopolarography,
which is hardly ever used nowadays. The next chapter, on
the theory of methods involving different types of polarization, will be a useful source of practical information.
Angew. Chem. In(. Ed. Engl. 21 (1982) No. I0
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