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Book Review Spectral Atlas of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds. By W. Karcher R. J. Fordham J. J. Dubois P. G. J. M. Claude and J. A. M

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vice for the scientific author and pervaded with the message that language, like chemistry, can be fun.
The chapter on the overuse of strings of nouns (“Amazing Revelations: English Scientists Secretly Practise German Vice!”) illustrates the ingenuity with which the author
approaches problems of grammar. In order to explain why
“ring junction carbon environment differences” is bad and
“differences in the environment of the carbons at the ring
junction” or “differences in the environment of the ring
junction carbons” better, he introduces the “adjectival”
and “genitive bonds” and proceeds to “hydrolyse” this
“peptide chain of the order AS.” While perhaps a bit farfetched, the analogy is effective and certainly more entertaining than the dry discussions of most conventional
books on grammar and style.
There is, unfortunately, one disturbing side to this book,
namely, the inordinate number of errors (which this reviewer would like to assume are merely typographical). In
the chapter “Of Nuts, Muttons and Shotguns,” for example, the em dash, which may be used to set off parenthetic
words or phrases, is discussed and-as in this sentenceprinted correctly (i.e., it has roughly the width of a capital
M and fills the space almost entirely). This is the first and
only time the em dash is printed correctly in the entire
book! Further examples are “undistinguishable” instead of
indistinguishable (p. 50), “pronounciation” (footnote on p.
64), “commonsense” as a noun (p. IOO), and “Oberhauser
enhacement” (p. 127).
As the author notes in “Yes, Virginia, there is a Temperature,’’ “he who writes about language skates on very thin
ice indeed.” Schoenfeld, like most editors, leaves behind a
trail of opinions and pet peeves, but, fortunately, not too
many cracks in the ice. Indeed, of all the books on English
directed to the scientist, it is refreshing to find one that
addresses the subject humorously and in terms the chemist
is likely to enjoy. If The Chemist’s English helps to elevate
the chemist’s appreciation of good writing, even to a small
extent, it will have succeeded where many of its more pretentious relatives have often failed.
David I . Loewus [NB 731 IE]
Angewandte Chemie, Weinheim
Spectral Atlas of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds. By W.
Karcher, R . J . Fordham, J. J. Dubois, P. G . J . A t Claude,
and J . A . M . Lighthart. D. Reidel Publishing Company,
Dordrecht 1985. 818 pp., bound, $94.00.-ISBN 90-2771652-8
Polycyclic aromatic compounds (hydrocarbons and aromatic heterocycles) arise from the pyrolysis and incomplete combustion of organic material. Since such processes
occur all over the place in o u r environment (e. g. in motor
vehicles, furnaces and in forest fires), polycyclic aromatic
compounds (PACs) are ubiquitous. Some PACs have
turned out to be carcinogenic in experiments on animals.
These two facts explain the enormous current interest in
the analysis of PACs.
The samples that the analyst has to investigate generally
comprise extremely complex mixtures of PACs. Therefore,
combinations of separation (chromatographic) techniques
and identification (spectroscopic) methods are usually,
employed. Ideally, a laboratory that carries out PAC analysis would possess highly pure reference samples, for identification and standardization purposes, of all PACs in the
Angew Chem Inr Ed Engl. 25 (1986) No 4
mixtures to be analyzed. However, the authors justly observe that “due to the enormous number of compounds
which are encountered, this situation is unlikely to be attained in the foreseeable future”, and they conclude that
“the widespread availability of high quality molecular
spectra and related data represents a more realistic and
practical alternative”.
This work is seen by the authors as the beginning of the
realization of this alternative. The spectral atlas deals altogether with only 42 compounds (25 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), eight methyl-PAHs, five thiophene
benzologs, three carbazole derivatives, and 1O-azabenzo[a]pyrene). The spectra were recorded by the authors on
their own instruments. Many of the compounds documented, and their spectra, could be found in any Iaboratory that carries out PAC analysis (carbazole, anthracene,
phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benzo[a]pyrene and
others). Yet the authors intend-as indicated in their preface-that further volumes should follow this book. The
production of an extensive, multivolume PAC spectral atlas would indeed be a welcome and useful enterprise and
would increase the significance of this volume.
The conception and realization of the spectral documentation are excellent:
In the form of graphs and tables, the following spectra
are reproduced: the UV/VIS absorption spectra, fluorescence and fluorescence-excitation spectra (room temperature, energy-corrected), Shpol’skii-fluorescence and phosphorescence spectra (15 K), mass spectra (70 eV), ‘HN M R spectra (80 MHz), I3C-NMR spectra, and IR spectra
(KBr disk and solution).
0 All spectra have been recorded under stringently
standard conditions with suitably pure (>99%) samples.
The instruments used to make the measurements and
the experimental conditions are comprehensively described.
The chemical shifts in the NMR spectra are assigned
by reference to literature data and by comparison with the
spectra of related compounds.
0 Likewise, the IR bands are assigned to important
structural characteristics of the compounds.
Only one critical observation will be made here: such an
extensive collection of the spectra of PACs should not
have neglected the phosphorescence spectra in solid
glasses measured at 77 K ; at least for quantitative analysis
these are appreciably more useful than the Shpol’skii
phosphorescence spectra.
I n addition, the book contains the melting points of the
ultra-pure compounds. In some cases, literature values for
the solubility in water (25 “C)are given.
The authors see the value of their work exclusively in
connection with the environmental analysis of PACs (in
the reviewer’s opinion this is a fully unnecessary limitation; PACs are of significance, for example, in photo- and
semiconductor physics, in coal chemistry, and many
other fields). Thus, it is understandable that for every compound, indications are given as to “occurrence’ and “biological activity”. This information is presented in tabular
form, with reference to the corresponding literature. These
tables should, however, only be seen as a structured literature compilation (which the authors d o not make explicitly
clear) and their perusal cannot replace a comparative
study of the works quoted. A critical evaluation, carried
out by experts, of the carcinogenic potential of most of the
compounds that appear in this volume can be found in
Vol. 32 of the well known IARC monographs (International Agency for Research on Cancer). It is to be wel379
corned that the “IARC classification” has been followed in
the tables of this book. Yet it could have been hoped, not
least in view of the high reputation of the IARC monographs and their great significance as a source of information, that the authors of the PAC spectral atlas should
quote accurately. Thus, we read in Vol. 32 of the IARC
monographs “The available data provide no evidence that
anthracene is carcinogenic to experimental animals”, while
the authors of the PAC spectral atlas remark of anthracene
“IARC ranking: inadequate data”.
Summary: A good spectral atlas, whose acquisition can
be recommended, and which will be of use especially to
laboratories that are beginning to institute PAC analysis.
As far as occurrence and biological activity of PACs are
concerned, the book can facilitate literature searching, but
in no way replace it.
M. Zunder [NB 734 IE]
Rutgerswerke AG, Castrop-Rauxel (FRG)
Biotechnology. A Comprehensive Treatise in 8 Volumes. Series editors: H.-J. Rehm, G . Reed. Vol. 6a: Biotransformations. K . Kieslich. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim 1985. xii, 473 pp., bound, Subscription price: DM
425.00.-ISBN 3-527-25768-3
Biotransformation is the broad term for chemical reactions carried out with the help of microbes or enzymes.
These reactions may utilize the microbes or enzymes in an
immobilized form or otherwise. The present volume is intended for anyone who wants an overview of the variety of
biotransformations of commercial or academic interest.
The volume, which is divided into eleven chapters, begins, after an introductory remark by K . Kieslich, with an
introduction to some of the methodologies for carrying out
these transformations by H . G. W. Leuenberger. In the second chapter, L. L. Smith presents an excellent summary of
the reactions involving steroids. The topic is continued by
C. K . A . Martin who discusses the selective side chain
cleavage of sterols for the synthesis of C-19 o r C-22 steroids and the partial degradation of the sterol ring system.
As is so often the case, biotechnology here succeeds only
when it can surpass the chemical methods regarding conversion efficiencies.
Terpenoid transformations, of interest to the flavor and
fragrance industries, are discussed by V. Krasnobujew. Optimal control of the transformation processes, such that no
useless compounds are formed, and economical isolation
of the products are the major challenges in this area. Acyclic, monocyclic, and bicyclic monoterpenoids and ionones
and related compounds are discussed. In Chapter 5, A .
Kergomard gives a comprehensive review of the reduction,
oxidation, hydrolysis, hydroxylation, degradation, and
synthesis reactions which are effected by bacteria and
fungi on alicyclic and heterocyclic compounds. Microbial
transformations involving natural and semisynthetic alkaloids (e.g. indole, isoquinoline, quinoline, colchicine, morphine, quinolizidine, nicotine, tropane, and ephedrine alkaloids) are reviewed by P. J. Davis. These reactions are of
interest because microbial systems offer the first level of
investigation into bioactivation, bioinactivation, and detoxification in mammals.
An excellent review of reactions involved in antibiotic
compounds of both academic and practical interest is provided by 0.K . Sebek. p-Lactams, aminoglycosides and rifamycins are discussed in some detail in this chapter,
which is also sprinkled with some recent references.
380
The degradation reactions of arenes and five- and sixmembered heterocyclic structures are reviewed in an excellent chapter by P. R. Wallnoyer and G . Engelhardt. While
the emphasis here is on the degradation of pesticides and
other industrial pollutants, the authors also cover the possibility of using the catabolism of microbes for the production of potentially useful intermediates. M . Biihler and J .
Schindler contribute a fine review on the transformation of
short chain n-alkanes, higher aliphatic hydrocarbons, and
fatty acids by microbes. The role of the monooxygenase
system is discussed in detail. Also included is a survey of
patents issued during 1972 to 1982 in Europe, Japan, and
the United States. Finally, the investigation of recombinant
DNA is also discussed briefly.
The production of amino acids and peptides with the
help of microbes and enzymes is reviewed by G . SchmidtKastner and P. Egerer. A brief but informative section outlines the economic aspects. In the last chapter, A. Crueger
and W. Crueger conclude this volume with a discussion of
carbohydrates. Aldose-ketose isomerizations such as, e.g.,
in high fructose corn syrup production, oxidations as in
ascorbic acid and gluconic acid production are briefly but
accurately highlighted, as are also reductions and the hydrolysis of glycosides, above all with a view towards commercial applications.
This volume is a welcome addition to the volumes that
have already appeared.[*1The overall quality of the volume
is very good. However, the reader should be cautioned that
most of the references cover only up to about 1982. As in
the case of the volumes reviewed so far, the contents of
this volume also continue to fluctuate between the objective of reviewing the research on the topic and that of providing an overview of the relevant industrial aspects. The
emphasis, more often than not, is on the former.
Bhavender P. Sharma [NB 727 IE]
Genencor, South San Francisco, CA (USA)
Electroorganic Chemistry as a New Tool in Organic Synthesis. By T. Shono. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg 1984. xi,
171 pages, hardback, DM 128.00.--ISBN 3-540-13070-5
Electroorganic synthesis has undergone rapid and continuous redevelopment in the past two decades. It now offers versatile possibilities for the preparation of synthetically valuable intermediates; it serves as a key reaction
within complex synthetic sequences and, in addition, it offers easy access to synthetic equivalents with unusual reactivity by means of redox Umpolung. Considering the relatively rare application of this method by non-electrochemists, it must be concluded that it has not been satisfactorily
propagated amongst preparative organic chemists. The
fear of complex apparatus and electrochemistry’s very
theoretical presentation to students seem to weigh heavily
against it.
T. Shono, one of the most active synthetic electrochemists, tries to dispel these inhibitions in his concise monograph on electroorganic chemistry as a tool in organic synthesis. He emphasizes in his foreword that he intends to
present the field exclusively from a synthetic standpoint by
means of selected examples. The book does not aim at being comprehensive, nor at penetrating mechanistic analysis.
I*1 Cf. Angew.
Chem. In1 E d . Engl. 24 (1985) 436.
Angew. Chem Int. E d . Engl. 25 11986) No. 4
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