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Book Review Interpretation of Mass Spectra. By F. W. McLafferty

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the two-semester course of lectures given at Indiana University for graduate students. Since a thorough background in
organic and physical chemistry is assumed, certain traditional
sections of biochemistry textbooks have been eliminated. For
example, there is no chapter on carbohydrate chemistry. The
structure of coenzymes is likewise discussed only as far as its
function in enzymatic reactions makes this necessary. The
difficult problem of protein and nucleic acid structure,
relegated to the later chapters in most textbooks, is placed
right at the beginning. It is characterized by a thoroughness
and breadth normally found only in large reference books
and survey articles. Two similarly detailed chapters o n the
thermodynamics and kinetics of enzyme reactions follow to
provide the prerequisite basis for the discussion of the
mechanism of enzyme action (in a separate chapter). Enzyme
action here signifies the catalytic action of protein, not the
chemical principles of coenzyme activity. The latter is dealt
with in detail for each coenzyme in the next chapter.
The first half of the book, which is devoted to theoretical
principles and general aspects, concludes with a chapter
about the structure of cells and the organization of enzymatic
activities in cell fractions and particles. The second half deals
with the dynamics of the chemical events in the cell. A sequence of chapters of conventional nature is found: carbohydrate metabolism, amino acids, nucleic acids, oxidation of
fatty acids, and decomposition of complex lipids, and also
chapters on the tricarboxylic acid cycle, biological oxidation,
a n extensive chapter on photosynthesis, and finally two
chapters o n biosynthesis (lipids and proteins).
As is to be expected in a first edition, some aspects are
unbalanced. This is often due to the fact that in some fields
there are gaps in the literature references. It will be possible
to make the necessary improvements in the new editions,
which will no doubt soon be forthcoming. In particular,
reference may be made to the chapter “Quaternary structure
of proteins”, which has in no way been given the detailed
treatment that is devoted later to the model of allosterism as
a controlling principle in enzyme activity. Many decisive
facts, such as the relationship between the number of subunits
and the number of coenzyme binding sites, particularly in
dehydrogenases, have been omitted entirely. The spontaneous
association of subunits to form typical structures and active
complexes likewise depends on the interactions determining
the structure of higher order, and characterizing the allosteric
transformations. The literature references attached to each
chapter are most welcome, survey articles and papers to
which special progress can be attributed being listed separately. The German reader will note that original work from
German periodicals is rarely mentioned, and, when it is,
with mutilated names. The subject of biochemistry in natural
science faculties will receive a strong impetus through this
work, and it is hoped that the book will achieve the widest
possible distribution.
K. Wallenfels
P B 639 IE]
Organic Compounds with Nitrogen-Nitrogen Bonds. By C. G.
Overberder, J.-P. Amelme, and J. G. Lombardino. From the
Series “Modern Concepts in Chemistry”. The Ronald
Press Company, New York 1966. 1st Edit., vi, 115 pp.,
$ 7.00.
The authors of the present work have succeeded admirably in
presenting a concise survey of the vast field of compounds
with N N bonds. In addition to the subject and author index,
the book contains a theoretical introduction and chapters on
the following topics: Hydrazines, azomethines having N N
bonos (hydrazones, azines, osazones), azo compounds, diazo
compounds (aromatic diazonium salts, diazoalkanes, diazirines), hydrazides, N-nitrosamines (N-nitramines), azides
(tetrazenes, triazenes). Each chapter is carefully subdivided
and completed by a literature register in which particular
emphasis is placed upon review articles and surveys. The
literature is covered up to 1965.
Angew. Chem. infernaf.Edit. 1 Vol. 7 (1968)
/ No. 1
It is only to be expected that in 115 pages the information
given is in a concentrated form and that a somewhat subjective
choice of material has been made. Nevertheless, the authors
have made such a good selection that the reader has no difficulty in obtaining a good idea of the preparation and reactions of these compounds and, particularly, of the work
carried out with them during the last decade.
E. Fuhr
[NB 619 IE]
The Encyclopedia of Chemistry. Edited by G. L. Clark and
G. G. Hawley. Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New
York 1966. 2nd Edit., xxi, 1144 pp., numerous illustrations,
$ 25.00.
The appearance of a second edition of a n “Encyclopedia”
exceeding 1000 pages within nine years can be described as
an achievement. It may be expected that work has meanwhile
been carried on to eliminate out-of-date information, to
collect together scattered pieces of information, and to cut
down verbosity. Unfortunately, these expectations have not
been entirely fulfilled.
A cursory glance through the volume gives an excellent
impression. There is hardly a subject that is not discussed
(admittedly some entries, such as Carbene, Cobalamine, and
Tacticity, are absent the printing is pleasant, the i:lustrations
are large and clear. Careful reading of the text, however,
reveal that the quality of the articles varies. Side by side with
good, modern, and clearly written contributions (e.g. on
crystal field theory and nuclear reactors), there are others
which provide out-of-date information, engage in long,
pointless argument, or are poorly coordinated. For example,
information about nucleic acids is contained in three different
places. Four authors are named, and there is no indication
that they had previously agreed o n who is to say or write
On the library shelf the book will often be useful and sometimes annoying. There is a long way to go before the editors
and the authors achieve a true encyclopedia.
H . Griinewald
[NB 645 IE]
Interpretation of Mass Spectra. By F. W . McLafferty. W. A.
Benjamin, Inc., New York-Amsterdam 1966. 1st ed.,
xvii, 229 pp., several figures, bound $ 9.00.
The ever-increasing importance of mass spectrometry in
science and industry has made it necessary to systematize the
interpretation of mass spectra, i.e. to classify them according
to significant aspects. While the hitherto published books
confine themselves t o the decomposition mechanisms of
classes of organic compounds, the author of this treatise
attempts to instruct the reader in the interpretation of mass
spectra by the use of spectra of unknown organic substances.
Problems of instrumentation are therefore merely touched
on in the introducfion.
The elucidation of reactions leading to molecular fragmentation and hence conclusions regarding the type and structure
of a compound form the predominant content of the interpretation of mass spectra. Certain fundamental rules are set
up for the treatment of decomposition mechanisms and the
reactions are classified in few general groups. Although
certain simplifications are necessary, this systematization
does represent a n aid for evaluating mass spectra.
The method with which the author introduces the student
and scientist to the problems of the interpretation of mass
spectra is interesting. Progress from initially simple decomposition mechanisms to ever more complicated ones enables
the student to test his understanding on unknown spectra
and to compare his solution with that given in the final
chapter. One advantage of this method is that it also provides
H . Krone
[NB 635 IE]
practice in interpretation.
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