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Book Review Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy. By W. S. Struve

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few years various monographs, some of them quite excellent,
have appeared dealing with different aspects of this topic
from a variety of viewpoints. With the publication of this
second edition of “Bioorganic Chemistry” we now have a
work which aims to treat the whole area in textbook style.
The same division of the material into seven chapters, as
in the first edition, has been retained. However, this is a very
coarse structure for the wide range of topics now covered,
and leads to some unexpected classifications, such as the
inclusion of the “suicide” deactivators in the chapter on coenzymes.
Chapter 1 provides a good introduction outlining some
basic principles, although it includes the misleading comment that bioorganic chemistry began only in the 1950s with
the work of E H . Westheimer (on this side of the Atlantic the
biomimetic syntheses carried out by Clemens Schopf and Sir
Robert Robinson in the twenties are still well remembered).
However, this discussion has been kept very short (22 pp.)
and consequently it is unavoidably superficial. The following
chapters on amino acids and peptides (86 pp.) and on phosphate esters and polynucleotides (60 pp.) not only treat these
topics comprehensively, from the basic features of peptide
and phosphate ester chemistry through to the biosynthesis of
the corresponding polymers, but also include interesting sections on newer and very recent developments such as catalytic antibodies, semisynthetic enzymes and DNA-intercalating
compounds. Chapter 4 (enzyme chemistry, 91 pp.) and
Chapter 5 (enzyme models, 136 pp.) form the core of the
book. In Chapter 4 the author first defines and explains the
use in this context of terms such as “catalysis” (although
even in this latest textbook we find the frequently used expression “intramolecular catalysis”, which is incompatible
with the definition of catalysis given earlier), “prochirality”
and “specificity”. Examples of actual enzyme reactions are
then discussed, followed by short sections on enzyme technology (including immobilization) and the increasingly important use of enzymes in organic synthesis.
The sections that are also included here on enzymeanalog-built polymers and on the construction of nonmacrocyclic molecular clefts could more appropriately have
been added to the next chapter on enzyme models. These
describe all the important strategies and design approaches
whose common denominator is the mimicking of biological
host-guest relationships. As well as recent developments
based on the now already classic cyclodextrin and crown
ether parent structures, the discussion also includes systems
without a precisely defined structure (functionalized polymers and micelle-forming species). Also noteworthy is the
treatment in this chapter of biomimetic reactions which, although they are models for biological specificity, do not need
a molecular host; these include polyene cyclizations and
functionalizations at non-activated steroid sites.
Chapter 6 is concerned with models that mimic the role of
metal ions in biological processes. The ions of the transition
metals Zn, Fe, Cu and Co are treated in turn; for these
artificial systems, some of which seem very contrived, the
ions are mainly introduced using porphyrin ligands. The
simulation, using cobalt complexes, of enzymic reactions
that depend on vitamin B,, links up with Chapter 7, which
is devoted to the chemistry of coenzymes. This classic field of
bioorganic chemistry is here subdivided according to the
functions and structures of the coenzymes (redox enzymes:
NAD, flavine etc.), and the most recent findings concerning
reaction mechanisms and model reactions are described by
means of well chosen examples. However, no reference is
made to the wide variety of new coenzymes obtained from
methanogenic bacteria (methanofuran, methoxatin, factor
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Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. 0-6940 Weinheim. 1990
F,,, etc.), for which details of the reaction mechanisms as
well as some model reactions are already known.
These omissions are not very serious when one considers
the wealth of information that is here very well presented, in
both textual and diagrammatic form. Nevertheless, it is clear
that the limitation of bioorganic chemistry to the chemistry
of enzymes, and therefore also the book’s subtitle, is obsolete
and does not adequately describe the subject.
“Bioorganic Chemistry” is certainly not a textbook in the
popular sense, as the emphasis is less on general principles
and “proven” knowledge than on illustration by examples.
This is no doubt intentional, and as a result the book makes
stimulating reading. However, one would have preferred the
author of such a textbook--especially one on an interdisciplinary topic like this-to be bolder in critically evaluating
the material and expressing his opinions. This applies especially to situations where there is controversy between alternative approaches, which are here simply not mentioned.
The reductionistic approximation for bioorganic systems,
although it is currently by far the most successful approach
to understanding the action of enzymes, is by no means the
only one, or even the only useful one.
Despite this criticism, H . Dugas has succeeded in producing a book which clearly describes the beauty and subtlety of
both living and abiotic molecular architecture. As well as the
readership for whom the book is mainly intended (1.e. advanced students), I can warmly recommend it to everyone
who seeks a comprehensive account, at a moderate price, of
current front-line developments in this highly topical field of
research.
Franz P . Schmidtchen [NB 1026 IE]
Lehrstuhl fur Organische Chemie und Biochemie
der Technischen Universitat Miinchen, Garching (FRG)
Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy. By W S . Struve.
Wiley, Chichester 1989. 379 pp., hard cover, E 31.95.ISBN 0-471-85424-7
A good training in the fundamentals of molecular spectroscopy is important for all chemists and for many physicists and biologists. Several generations of young scientists
have grown up with Herzberg’s three-volume classic work
“Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure”, Volume 1 of
which was originally published in German in 1939 (Molekiilspektren und Molekiilstruktur, Steinkopff Verlag). Herzberg’s books are still unsurpassed in scientific thoroughness
and depth of treatment. Moreover, it is pedagogic masterpiece because of the many well chosen examples and the
clear, usually simple, manner of presentation. However, the
third and last volume was published as long ago as 1966, and
since then the books have not been revised (except for the
publication of a supplementary volume of tables, K. P. Huber and G. Herzberg: Constants of Diatomic Molecules, van
Nostrand, 1979). Since 1966 great developments have taken
place in molecular spectroscopy. On the experimental side
Fourier transform spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy have
become well established, while on the theoretical side quantitative quantum chemical calculations have become possible,
developments which one could at best only have guessed at
in 1966. Thus, there has for some time been an urgent need
for up-to-date textbooks on molecular spectroscopy. This
has now been partly covered, e.g. by the textbooks of Kroto:
Molecular Rotation Spectra, Wiley, 1975, and Hollas: High
Resolution Spectroscopy, Butterworth, 1982, both of which
can be recommended in this context.
0570-0833~90/0707-0816S 03.50+.25/0
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 29 (1990) No. 7
The book by W S. Struve is based on lectures to American
graduate students between 1974 and 1987; in Germany this
level corresponds approximately to the final semesters of the
diploma course and to special lecture courses for Doktoranden (post-graduate students), although the latter
courses are now often neglected, unfortunately. Radiative
transitions are treated first in an elementary way, followed
by atomic spectra (40 pp.), diatomic molecules (90 pp.),
polyatomic molecules (100 pp.) and, in the concluding chapters, line shapes and intensities, lasers, two-photon processes
and non-linear optics. The treatment is generally competent
and appropriate for teaching purposes. The book as a whole
is comparable with the corresponding chapters of typical
physical chemistry textbooks, but goes a little further. However, it is disappointing to find some quite outdated material,
and the coverage of recent developments is very incomplete.
Thus, there are examples of IR spectra of HCl from around
1960, and the information that the student will gain from this
book concerning the development of techniques such as FTIR spectroscopy is hardly adequate. Furthermore, in discussing the theory of molecular spectra there is no mention
of such an important aspect as the development of the concept of molecular symmetry groups by Longuet-Higgins,
Hougen and Watson, which was already mentioned as a new
development in 1966 in Volume 3 of “Herzberg”, and about
which a textbook (by P. R. Bunker) has been in existence for
ten years. Also some other developments belonging to the
“post-Herzberg” era, such as Watson’s theory of the spectra
of asymmetric rotor molecules and many other topics, are
only mentioned in passing. On the other hand, some new
special techniques (CARS and others) are treated in Chapter 11.
In summary one may say that this book by W Struve is
suitable for the bookshelves of a university teacher preparing
a lecture course on this subject, and it should also be available as a rule in departmental libraries.
Martin Quack [NB 1084 IE]
Laboratorium fur Physikalische Chemie
der Eidgenossischen Technischen Hochschule,
Zurich (Switzerland)
Electrochemical Reactors, Their Science and Technology.
Part A : Fundamentals, Electrolysers, Batteries and Fuel
Cells. Edited by M . I. Ismail. Elsevier, Amsterdam 1989.
xviii, 848 pp., hard cover, HFI 268.00.-ISBN
0-44487139-X
This book is the first of three volumes with the general title
“Electrochemical Reactors”. As the series editor explains in
the preface, Volume A deals with the basic principles of
electrochemical reactors and with batteries and fuel cells,
Volume B will deal with special types of reactors, and Volume C with production techniques for commercial reactors
and mathematical modeling of the processes occurring in
electrochemical reactors. The series is intended for both specialists and students.
The first volume contains a short general introduction to
the field, followed by 14 longer articles in which recognized
experts report on the current state of knowledge in individual
areas. These deal with fundamental aspects (thermodynamics, electrode kinetics, transport of heat and matter, flow
mechanics), with more general considerations (concepts used
in describing electrochemical processes, general technical
problems, regulating systems) and with special aspects (electrodes, electrolytes, diaphragms, materials of construction,
Angew. Chem. I n l . Ed. Engl. 29 (1990) No. 7
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process control systems). Batteries and fuel cells are treated
in separate articles.
The quality of the individual contributions strikes the reviewer as being just as heterogeneous as the impression given
by the overall visual appearance of the book. They range
from very good review articles (e.g. those on thermodynamics and electrode kinetics) to tabulated compilations of equations with virtually no discussion (as in the article on transport of heat and matter). Also the SI system is not employed
universally.
The articles on fundamentals can be recommended as an
introduction for newcomers to the extensive field of electrochemical processes, and experts will value the comprehensive
bibliography provided. The book will be hindered from
reaching a wider readership by the weaknesses mentioned
above, and more especially by its high price, which the poor
visual appearance (with typography and figures which are
sometimes difficult to read) does nothing to counteract.
Thomas Hahn [NB 1044 IE]
Institut fur chemische Verfahrenstechnik
der Universitat Karlsruhe (FRG)
The Chemistry of Soils. By G. Sposito. Oxford University
Press, Oxford 1989. 277 pp., hardcover, & 28.00.4SBN
0-19-804618-3
The declared aim of this book is to develop soil chemistry
from the level of purely qualitative description into an exact
science which makes use of all available techniques, ranging
from spectrometers to computer modeling. This means that
it should not only meet the needs of modern agriculture, but
should also provide a basis for understanding and solving
many environmental problems. The reader who already has
the necessary basic knowledge of soil science, mineralogy
and chemistry will find here an interesting textbook, which
deals in the first few chapters with the chemical composition
of soils, then goes on to describe soil chemical processes, and
finally discusses questions of acidity, salt excess and fertility.
Starting from the elemental composition of soils, the mineral constituents and trace elements are discussed. The threephase system consisting of soil solids, soil air and soil water
leads on to the stages in weathering. In discussing the inorganic constituents those which mainly feature are, of course,
ionic solids, primary silicates and clay minerals, oxides and
hydroxides, carbonates and sulfates. Coming to the organic
soil constituents, the account of humus-related problems is
concise but very instructive. However, the interactions with
organic trace impurities are not treated in sufficient detail;
for example, pesticide-related problems are an important
topic which could usefully have been included. The topic of
soil solvation begins with a brief discussion of sampling
methods, then continues with the most important equilibria
and calculations on these. Solubility calculations are given
for several minerals, and the corresponding activity-partition diagrams are developed. Under electrochemical properties the pE concept (including pE-pH diagrams), redox reactions, relevant measurement techniques and conditions in
water-saturated soils are included. The characteristics of the
particle surface are discussed in terms of the functional
groups present, the adsorption equilibria, surface charges,
the points of zero charge and the adsorbed water. The treatment of the effects of adsorbed cations, anions and molecules
is extended to include descriptions of batch and column experiments, together with thermodynamic and kinetic modeling of the processes. The range of functionalities that occur
Verlagsgesellschafi mbH. 0-6940 Weinheim, 1990
OS70-0833/90/0707-0817$03.50+ .2510
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