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Book Review Iron Oxides in the Laboratory. Preparation and Characterization. By U. Schwertmann and R. M. Cornell

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written, readable, up-to-date (covering the literature up to
1989), and contains few errors. Above all it identifies features of regulatory mechanisms that are common to widely
different fields of molecular biology. This is a useful text for
readers with a broad area of interest, written by a competent
author with a good overview of the subject; it offers an ideal
basis for a course or seminar on regulatory mechanisms.
Ferdinand ffucho
Institut fur Biochemie
Freie Universitat Berlin (FRG)
Iron Oxides in the Laboratory. Preparation and Characterization. By U . Schwertmann and R. M . Cornell. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/VCH Publishers, New York, 1991.
XIV, 137 pp., hardcover DM 118.00.-ISBN 3-52726991-6/0-89573-858-9
Even on first thumbing through this little book, which has
a substantial binding and is pleasing to handle, one is impressed by the clear arrangement of its contents. Anyone
who has at some time struggled with the study of iron aquoxides will, after reading it for a short time, join this reviewer
in exclaiming “If only this had been available then!”.
Schwertmann and Cornell save the beginner from having to
do a lot of tedious literature searching, and they give much
valuable advice regarding the “perversity” of the chemistry
that can help to prevent failures.
The first few chapters explain the structural relationships
between the oxides and hydroxides of iron, and describe the
preparative techniques, methods of investigation, and special synthetic methods. These are followed by nine chapters
on the various compounds; five of these deal with iron hydroxides, three with iron oxides, and one with basic iron
salts, including also doped variants of these in some cases.
Very detailed methods are given for unambiguously
preparing each of nine important iron compounds, analyzing them, and storing them for use as reference materials;
these are goethite, lepidocrocite, feroxyhyte, ferrihydrite,
akaganeite, hematite, magnetite, maghemite, and iron(II1)oxyhydroxy sulfate. In future this will be the standard work
always referred to in connection with iron oxides and hydroxides.
According to an old saying, even the most excellent of
carpets must have its small defects, so as not to incur the
wrath of Allah. Here they include the missing literature citations on pages 29 to 33, and the absence of a cross-reference
to the oxalate extraction test for characterizing goethite
(page 46). In describing hydrolysis reactions (e.g., on
page 57) it would have been desirable to give the formula of
the hydrated starting species, and to mention the oligomeric
intermediate products. In describing the preparation of
goethite a consistent procedure should have been given: on
page 64 the caustic solution is added to the solution of the
metal salt, whereas a little later (p. 72) the metal salt solution
is added to the caustic solution. This fails to take account of
the fact that the isoelectric point of the primary precipitate
suspension is approached from the acidic side in one case
and from the basic side in the other. The nature of the impurities that become incorporated into the primary precipitate,
and can affect the properties of the end-product, is quite
different in the two cases.
To this reviewer the title of the monograph is a small
source of annoyance, which cannot be blamed on the authors. A more suitable title would contain the generic term
“iron aquoxides” introduced by Glemser (Angew. Chem.
Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, W-6940 Weinheim, 1992
1961, 73, 785), although this has, unfortunately, not been
generally adopted. Perhaps this different way of looking at
things might stimulate an increased interest in the catalytic,
magnetic, electronic, electrochemical, and photovoltaic
properties of iron aquoxides (including the “iron oxides”
extracted from aqueous systems), which are very sensitive to
the presence of hydroxide groups, even in sub-trace concentrations.
The list of groups to whom the book is likely to be of
interest might well be extended to include the authors of
future monographs!
Dieter H . BuJ
Institut fur Anorganische Chemie
der Universitat Gottingen (FRG)
Protective Groups in Organic Synthesis. 2nd Edition. Edited
by 7: W Greene and P. G. M . Wuts. Wiley, Chichester,
1991. XVI, 473 pp., hardcover E 47.50.-ISBN 0-47162301-6
Ten years after the publication of the first edition of this
very successful book, Theodora W. Green and Peter G. M.
Wuts have now prepared a second edition taking into account the latest state of knowledge on the use of protective
groups. The division of subject matter is the same as in the
first edition. The book starts by describing the functions that
protective groups are intended to achieve. The protective
groups used for different compound types or groups are then
dealt with in turn: those for hydroxy groups, including 1,2and 1,3-diols, in Chapter 2, for phenols and catechols in
Chapter 3, for carbonyl compounds in Chapter 4,for carboxy groups in Chapter 5, for thiol groups in Chapter 6, and
for amino groups in Chapter 7. Lastly, Chapter 8 compares
the labilities and stabilities of commonly used protective
groups under different conditions (basic, acidic, oxidative,
etc.), summarizing these in “reactivity charts”; the charts are
identical to those in the first edition.
The material in the new edition is impressively up-to-date.
The literature has been comprehensively covered up to 1988,
with partial coverage up to 1990 for work published in
American journals and in Tetrahedron Letters. For each
protective group described, methods for its introduction and
subsequent detachment are indicated, though often only by
giving the reagents together with a literature reference. Generalized reaction equations are given in a few instances, but
more usually only the equation for a special case. In this way
the authors have achieved a high density of information. The
form of presentation adopted inevitably means that the special properties of protective groups, even of some very important ones, are treated too briefly, or sometimes even not
at all. This applies, for example, to the stereospecific neighbor group effects of acetates in the synthesis of glycosides.
Also there is no mention of the Koenigs-Knorr and related
syntheses. However, this was no doubt deliberate on the part
of the authors, since it is unmistakably evident that their
main area of interest and experience is in the synthesis of the
many natural products containing hydroxy and carbonyl
groups, which is also reflected in the relative emphasis given
to the various protective groups discussed. Consequently, it
is essential that the reader interested in using a particular
protective group in experimental work should consult the
original literature that is cited. A further reason for this is
that the authors have deliberately prefered to cite more recent examples of applications, and on grounds of economy
they have made the proviso that the citations do not neces-
0570-0833/92/0505-0658$ 3.SO+ .2S/O
Angew,. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 31 (1992) No. 5
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preparation, oxide, book, laboratory, iron, cornell, characterization, review, schwertmann
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