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Book Review Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Vol. 1. By T. S. Work and E. Work

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Additions to the activated C-C
triple bond (E. Winterfeldt,
Chemische Elementaranalysemit kleinsten Proben (Elemental Chemical Analysis with Very Small Samples). By
G . Tdlg. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1967. 1st Ed., viii,
228 pp., 66 figs., 5 tab. bound, DM 32.-.
s-Triazine derivatives by polar cycloaddition of isocyanates ( H . Ulrjch and R. Richter).
The development of elemental organic analysis is strongly
influenced by the needs of biology, biochemistry, and
medicine, and this means that the amount of substance
required is tending to become smaller and smaller. The
author, an international expert in this field, presents an
excellent review of the current achievements, including
descriptions of procedures requiring only a few micrograms
(in some cases only a few nanograms) of the elements to
be determined.
Each chapter contains numerous descriptions of preparations, which are thorough enough to make reference to the
original literature unnecessary. It is hardly necessary to
emphasize here the other advantages and the usefulness of
this collection to all preparative chemists, university
lecturers, and students, since this was done quite adequately
in the reviews of Volumes IV and Vrl’.As with the previous
issues, this new volume can be recommended without
The book is divided into two parts. The first is a general
section, and is concerned with the basic principles of
handling such small quantities-weighing, measuring,
transferring-and the appropriate safety precautions, together with the equipment, relating these topics as closely
as possible to practical needs. The second, more specific
part gives methods for the determination of carbon,
hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, fluorine, chlorine,
bromine, iodine, phosphorus, and arsenic. Several reliable
methods are given in each case, which is particularly important for ultramicroanalysis. It is gratifying to find that
many of the methods are characterized by their standard
deviation. Special attention is paid to titrimetric procedures
(usually in combination with electrical indication) and
photometric techniques. Most of the methods, which,
incidentally, are all described with a refreshing degree of
clarity, are accompanied by descriptions and illustrations
of equipment specifically intended for the purpose. This
book is a valuable addition to the literature devoted to
analysis, and is heartily recommended.
There is an underlying note of sadness in the editor’s
introduction, as though he were bidding farewell to a class
of reader who is rapidly becpming extinct. In this he is
only partiy justified. Certainly there is a decreasing tendency, particularly among the younger generation of chemists,
to have one’s own personal copy of the essential literature
to be kept at home on the bedside table, and there is an
increasing tendency to expect the company or the state
to pay for everything. But, evidently, this does not influence
the intensity of research, since there is no decrease in the
number of papers published in journals or monographs.
Indeed, there is a journal devoted to synthesis alone. The
style and the objectivesof the research are changing, and we
shall have to tread new paths if we are to keep fully abreast of
new developments. Over the past 25 years, Foerst’s“Neuere
Methoden” have played an important part in this endeavor.
It is about time to devote some thought to the next 25 years.
Gunther Kraft
Hans Musso
[NB 977 IE]
Cf. Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. 7, 83 (1968).
[NB 976 IE]
Neuere Methoden der Praparativen Organischen Chemie
(Newer Methods of Preparative Organic Chemistry).
Edited by W Foerst. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1970.
Vol. 6, vi, 297 pp., 3 figs., 60 tab., bound, DM 38.-.
This is the last volume of a series begun in 1944. It contains
ten articles (in most cases considerably expanded) from
Angewandte Chemie on the following topics (the date at
the end of each reference is the year in which the article
appeared in Angewandte Chemie):
Preparation, properties, and reactions of polychloroamine
derivatives ( H . Holtschmidt et al., 1968),
Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular
Biology. VoI. 1. By T. S. Work and E. Work, NorthHolland Publishing Comp., Amsterdam 1970. 1st ed.,
572 pp., numerous figs. and tab., bound, DM 90.-.
The current rapid progress in natural sciences is largely
due to the development of new methods of analysis and
separation which give high sensitivity and resolution.
However, these methods are often so difficult to perform
and interpret that they can only be mastered and usefully
employed by an expert. Nevertheless, they can be learned
directly or indirectly from someone experienced in their
Ring closure reactions with carbon monoxide ( J . Falbe,
The North-Holland Publishing Co. were alert to this need
and have started a series on “Laboratory Techniques in
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” under the general
guidance of T. S. and E. Work. The aim of this series is to
give practical instruction and information on the use of
modern methods. The initial contributions are on gel
chromatography (L.Fischer, Uppsala), gel electrophoresis
(A. H . Gordon, Mill Hill) and immunochemical reactions
(J. Clausen, Copenhagen), bound together into one sturdy
and attractively presented volume. In each case there are
detailed notes on the use of the method, the way in which
the instruments used work, and on critical evaluation of
the results : there is also a list of suppliers and commercially
available variants.
Synthesis of isocyanates and carbodiimides (H. Ulrich and
A. A. R. Sayigh, 1966),
The individual sections live up to the promise of their
authors’ reputations, even on close and critical study.
Directed aldol condensations (H. R e g 1968),
Carboxylic acid syntheses from 1,l-dichloroethylene ( K .
Bott and H. Hellmann, 1966),
Diazo group transfer (M. Regitz, 1967),
Isocyanide dihalide syntheses (E. Kuhle, B. Anders, and
G. Zumach, 1967, 1969),
Synthesis and reactions of cyanic esters (E. Grigat and
R. Putter, 1967),
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. J Vol. 10 (1971) 1 No. 8
Rapid developments in this field will of course mean that
now there are even more recent variants of instruments,
which no longer have the faults of their predecessors, and
this inevitably overtakes a carefully compiled book such
as this. Examples of omissions due to this factor include
a detailed account of the electrofocusing technique, rapid
analysis of enzymes in acrylamide gel, the more recent gel
electrophoresis methods, the theoretical derivations for
particle weight determination of proteins by gel filtration,
and many others. But the material that is here is first class
and extremely useful for any practising biochemist. The
individual sections of the hard cover compilation are to be
issued as separate paperbacks, which is very sensible, since
any experimenter who is using or thinking of using these
methods will want the appropriate book at hand. It would
also be a good idea if these were just as sturdily bound as
the main volume, since it is probable that they will be handed
around from one worker to the next.
L. Jaenicke
[NB 982a IE]
Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular
Biology. Vol. 2. By T. S. Work and E. Work, NorthHolland Publishing Comp., Amsterdam 1970. 1st ed.,
408 pp., bound, Dfl. 75.-.
The second volume of “Laboratory Techniques” consists
of two very timely sections : automatic enzyme determination, and the principles of cellulose-exchanger chromatography.
D. B. Roodyn, known as the author and editor of a whole
series of extremely valuable monographs, here presents a
review of over 200 pages of the techniques by which serial
analysis and series of analyses needed in modern clinical
and biochemical laboratories can be automated and programmed. Although as far as equipment is concerned the
author places most emphasis on the Technicon Autoanalyzer, his presentation is by no means one-sided, since
he tries to bring out the fundamental principles and to be
just to the other methods. This is extremely well done.
Descriptions are given of continuous and discontinuous
sampling, single and multiple enzyme analyses, serial
characterization of the physicochemical parameters of
enzymes, data processing, and presentation of the results.
In an appendix a FORTRAN program for a general enzyme
analysis system is given, together with a summary of all the
published automated enzyme determinations up to 1968.
For all his enthusiasm for his subject, the author’s presentation is critical and balanced. This is a book by a practical
man for the practical man, who will here find an advisor
reliable in every respect.
Before any chemical research can begin, the substances to
be used or investigated must be purified. For complex
biological materials and macromolecules, ion exchangers
based on cellulose have very recently been introduced and
have proved themselves extremely useful. E. A . Peterson
is one of the pioneers in this field. His 170-page monograph
results from the wealth of experience he has accumulated
over the past 15 years. It begins with a description of the
cellulose ion exchanger, and then turns to the theoretical
foundations of chromatography and the effect of varying
the parameters. The next sections, of special value from
the practical viewpoint, deal with selection of the chromatographic conditions, preparation of the exchanger, packing
and charging of the columns, the actual way in which
elution is carried out, and treatment of the eluate. Finally,
some current biochemical applications of importance are
described. Here too valuable tips are given and the commercially available instruments are listed. The wealth of
information given will enable even the novice chromatographer to approach his task with a certain amount of
confidence and to make sense of his findings.
In both parts of this book the clear presentation, the circumspect and practical arrangement of the material, and the
excellent appearance are particularly praiseworthy. This
book should be available to every biochemist.
L. Jaenicke
[NB 982b IE]
Gas Chromatography, Principles, Techniques and Applications. By A.B. Littlewood. Academic Press, New York
1970. 2nd. Edit., 546 pp., 152 figures, DM ca. 90.-.
The second edition of Littlewood’s book, like the first, is
divided into three general sections on principles,techniques,
and applications of gas chromatography. The strength of
the book lies in the particularly clear and lucid treatment
of the theory in Chapters 1-6. However, the discussion
of the theoretical relations separately from the applications
in the last few chapters will occasionally make it diilicult
for the analyst using the book to find explanations for
practical observations that he is unable to interpret.
Moreover, a comprehensive treatment of the diverse
applications of gas-chromatographic methods can scarcely
be achieved in the space of one textbook. Applications
should be discussed in a textbook only to make the relations easier to understand and to facilitate the use of the
special literature. This task is approximately fulfilled by
the last part of the book.
As far as the second part of the book is concerned, the
reviewer is of the opinion that it would have been better
to place the emphasis on other phenomena and relations.
The theory and construction of detectors such as the
thermal conductivity cell and the argon detectors are
described in too much detail. The analyst nowadays buys
an instrument or an important part of an instrument, such
as a detector, and will only rarely be able to make technical modifications and improvements. The properties of
a detector that play a large part in determining the reliability and accuracy of quantitative analyses, such as sensitivity, dead volume, linear dynamic range, drift behavior,
and calibration factors are important in this connection.
The treatment of the argon detectors, with the possible
exception of the electron capture detector, in no way
reflects their practical importance, which is decreasing.
Chapters 9 and 10 could have been shortened in favor
of Chapter 11 in particular. Reaction gas-chromatographic
methods and combined methods, column changing techniques, and automation of the analysis and of the evaluation are more important than some relations discussed in
Chapters 9 and 10.
Finally, the reviewer would ask the publisher to make the
print clearer and to draw more attention to important conclusions and basic principles by the use of bold type and
indentations. To sum up, we can only say that the strength
of the book lies in the clear and easily understandable
treatmeni of the theory, though the book can also provide
some important hints for practical problems.
Gerhard Schomburg [NB 973 IE]
Angew. Chem. internal. Edit. 1 Vol. I0 (1971) No. 8
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