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Book Review Poly--Amino Acids. Protein Models for Conformational Studies. Edited by G. D. Fasman

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up t o about 1965/1966. Its publication will be welcomed by
all who wish t o learn about this field of organic chemistry,
and it should be included at least in the libraries of all uniW. Tochterrnann [NB 738 IE]
versities and colleges.
The Organic Chemistry of Phosphorus. By A . J . Kirby and
S . G. Warren. Monograph 5 of the series “Reaction
Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry”. Edited b y C. Euborn
and N . B . Chapman. Elsevier Publishing Company. Amsterdam-London-New York 1967. 1st Edit., xi, 4U4 p ~ . ,
4 figures, 21 tables, Dfl. 65.-.
A great deal of expert knowledge and courage are required
t o present a monograph on such an extensive topic. However,
it is pointed out in the preface that certain mechanistic principles are t o be laid down to familiarize the newcomer with
the specific problems of organophosphorus chemistry. The
authors see the absence of quantitative data in the original
papers as one of the limits of their commentary. The experienced reader very soon finds that the discussion of fields
that have already been well covered in other monographs
(cf. R . F. Hudson: Structure and Mechanism in Organophosphorus Chemistry), or that are particularly familiar to the
authors from their own experience is of a high scientific
standard. This is true of Chapter 1: Electronic Structure;
Chapter 2: Structure and Reactivity; Chapter 3: Nucleophilic
Attack of Compounds of Trivalent Phosphorus; Chapter 4:
Elimination of Compounds of Trivalent Phosphorus;
Chapter 5 : Free-Radical Reactions on Phosphorus; Chapter
7: Reactions that d o not occur on the Central P Atom;
Chapter 8: Nucleophilic Attack on Compounds of Tricoordinated Phosphorus; Chapter 10: Nucleophilic Attack on
Compounds of Tetrahedral Phosphorus(v), and Chapter 11:
Phosphorylation. The last two chapters are particularly
impressive for their completeness.
On the other hand, Chapter 6: Four-Center Rearrangements,
and t o a lesser degree Chapter 9: Nucleophilic Attack on Phosphonium Salts and Compounds of Pentacovalent Phosphorus, seem rather stunted. Chapter 6 deals almost exclusively with olefination via phosphonium ylides, with n o
regard for historical relationships. More recent developments such as PO-activated olefinations are by-passed with
references, and their importance in syntheses is not mentioned.
N o reference is made t o later variants by Zimmer, Corey,
Machleidt, and Bergelson. This chapter also contains many
inaccuracies and errors, which should be eliminated for the
second edition. The well-informed reader also notices the
absence of references t o important review articles, particularly in languages other than English. No mention is made in
Chapter 9 o f t h e important work by Hellwinkel on the anionic
hexacovalent phosphorus compounds; the book also lacks
any reference t o the preparation of phosphabenzene and its
derivatives by G. Markl. I t is categorically stated on page 336
that no three-membered rings containing phosphorus are
known, with complete disregard for the preparation of phosphirane by Ross and Wagner. Reactions of azides with compounds of tricoordinate phosphorus are repeatedly and
wrongly formulated as proceeding via nitrenes. If inaccuracies
of this nature and mistakes in the formulations, formulas,
and literature data were corrected, this monograph could be
wholeheartedly recommended. Even in its present state, however, it provides a lively insight into the complexity and
vitality of organophosphorus chemistry.
L. Horner [NB 728 IE]
Perspectives in Structural Chemistry. Vol. 1. Edited by J. D .
Dunitz, and J. A. Ibers. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkLondon-Sydney, 1967. 1st Edit., ix, 199 pages, numerous
illustrations and tables, bound, 80 s.
This is the first volume of a new series of detailed surveys on
topics in structural chemistry. According t o the foreword,
the emphasis is placed on the results of structural investigaAngew. Chem. internnt. Edit. 1 Vo1. 7 (1968) J No. 9
tions, their accuracy, and their chemical significance, a n d not
on the aspects of methods and techniques. I n addition. the
results of individual StrUCtUI‘dl determinations are mutually
compared to establish relationships wherever possible, and
t o interpret these relationships.
The first volume contains three surveys, all writtcn with
regard to the above concepts: “z-Complexes of Transition
Metals with Aromatic Systems” by P. J. Wheatley, “Structures of Natural Products” by A . McL. Mathieson, and
“Structural Chemistry of the C = N group” by D. Britton.
The literature up to and including 1965 appears to be reviewed completely. I n the last two contributions reference is also
made to more recent literature. Characteristically, a large
part of the work cited is concerned with X-ray structurc
analysis. The three authors and the editors are well-known
practising crystallographers, who have contributed to the
subjects under discussion by their own work.
The value of the book lies not only in the collection and comparative evaluation of the relevant literature, but in the
critical manner in which it is presented. For this reason, and
because of its emphasis on results, the book will appeal
directly t o the organic and inorganic chemist interested in
general structural and stereo-chemistry, who often finds it
difficult t o understand and appraise original papers and to
assess their accuracy because of the frequently strong emphasis on methodological aspects.
It is to be hoped that further volumes in this series will soon
become available.
D. Mootr [NB 732 IE]
Poly-or-Amino Acids. Protein Models for Conformational
Studies. Edited by G. D . Fasman. Vol. 1 of the “Biological
Macromolecules Series”. Marcel Dekker. lnc., New York.
1967. 1st Edit. xv, 764 pages, numerous illustrations and
tables, bound f 34.50.
This compilation of information about polyamino acids, information that has grown very rapidly in recent years, will be
especially welcomed by those who are interested in the structure and stabilization of proteins and in conformational
changes. The book consists of 1 3 chapters written by leading
specialists. Each chapter is effectively a separate monograph
in its particular field.
The chapters on X-ray structure analysis (Elliott), IR-spectroscopy (Miyarowu), X-ray small-angle scattering (Saludiian
and Luzzuti), and hydrogen exchange (Erlunder) are excellent
both in the description of methods and in the presentation of
the results. The treatment of light scattering and hydrodynamic properties by Benoit et al. is essentially confined to
an outline of method possibilities. The chapters o n UVabsorption (Gratzer), optical rotatory dispersion ( Yang), and
circular dichroism (Beychok) are considered good in themselves; a comprehensive description of these closely related
effects from the point of view of the optical properties of
polypeptides would certainly have been better. Here we
come across the basic disadvantage of the book: the very
thorough grouping according to methods, which is only complete when it more or less coincides with a grouping based on
the properties of polyamino acids. Hence the individual
descriptions are not very well interrelated, and there are many
repetitions (even some illustrations occur twice!).
In addition t o the method-oriented chapters, there are two
interesting chapters on dielectric properties ( Wadu) and biological properties (Silman and Selu), and also a chapter on
polyproline (Mundelkern).The difficult problem of presenting
the theories o n stabilization and conformational changes is
well solved by Poland and Scheruga (with limitations as t o
kinetics). Fasman has succeeded only partially in giving in
his chapter a n orderly survey of the properties of the polyamino acids and their structures. The construction of the
book and a poor and defective index render it impossible for
the reader t o acquaint himself quickly with a particular polyamino acid. The literature is covered up to 1965, and in certain exceptional cases up to 1966.
J. ~~~~l [NB 736 IEI
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