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Book Review The Biosynthesis of Steroids Terpenes and Acetogenins. By J. H. Richards and J. B

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to the view of the reader just how many physico-chemical
aspects are encountered in organic chemistry here. The book
can therefore be recommended to all students to aquaint
themselves with this field of research.
H.-H. Perkampus
[NB 3861244 lE]
Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology. Plastics,
Resins, Rubbers, Fibers. Edited by H . F. Mark, N . G.
Gaylord, and N . M . Bikales. Vol. 1 : A to Amino Acids.
lnterscience Publishers, a Division of John Wiley & Sons.
New York-London-Sydney 1964. 1st edit., XVIII
893
pp., numerous illustrs. and tables, price of single volume
G 18.15.0 (about $ 51.50), subscription price f 15.0.0
(about $ 41.50).
+
In view of the rapid development of polymer science and
plastics production within the past decades and of the
accompanying divergence of individual aspects of the subject, a complete survey of the field is highly welcome. The
present series will comprise about twelve volumes appearing
at a rate of at least two per year. About one thousand individual contributions written by acknowledged authorities
are planned.
The editors’ aims are clear from the following comments. The
production and the physical, chemical, and toxic properties
of all monomers will described together with their polymerization behavior. The production, properties, processing,
and fields of application of polymers will be discussed. Finished articles, e.g. rubber goods, and economic questions will
also be dealt with. Wherever appropriate, theoretical considerations are also to be interspersed.
This first volume contains 31 contributions. Eachcontribution
contains a detailed bibliography (including patents) ; particularly many references are given under the keywords
Abrasion Resistance (1 87 citations, not including general
references), Acids and Derivatives, Aliphatic (198), Acrylic
Ester Polymers (447), Acrylonitrile Polymers (333), Adhesion
and Bonding (156), Amines (176). The literature is covered
to 1962 (inclusive), in some places to 1964. Several tables
and figures contain previously unpublished results, mostly
made available by chemical companies.
A table (51/2 pp.) gives a detailed list of the symbols and
abbreviations used in the work. However, the list is not
consistent. F o r example, the symbols for kinetic and thermodynamic quantities are missingand there is no mention that
x can mean “conversion” as well as “degree of polymerization” (DP) or that the D P can also be denoted by n or y or
that c indicates the concentration. The average degree of
polymerization is denoted by DP, but the number and weight
averages of the D P are designated x,, and x,.
Some space could have been saved here and there, e.g. by
reduction of the size of some figures or by omission of
simple formulas in tables; moreover, in the reviewer’s
opinion, descriptions of methods for producing saturated
compounds of low molecular weight ( e . g . alcohols, acids, and
esters) or for preparing alkali metals need not have been
included in this encyclopedia.
Since the r-values of copolymerization depend on the temperature and on the reaction medium, indications of these
should have been given in all the tables or in the text, but
these are often omitted. On p. 512, the boiling point given
for methanol is 0.3 OC too high.
Temperatures are sometimes given in Centigrade and sometimes in Fahrenheit degrees, so that conversions have to be
made for comparison. T o simplify this matter, a centigradeFahrenheit conversion table should be included as a loose
insert in a future volume. Conversion tables for area, volume,
and mechanical units might also be added.
A few proposals might be mddc of features for inclusion in
the last volume in order to simplify use of the book.
1. In the contributions on individual polymers and monomers, the same concepts and properties are often given in
more than one place. Comparison of the data for various
148
products is made difficult by the fact that one does not know
where to look for numerical data. It is therefore suggested
that the last volume contain a n index of key words including
such headings as r-values for copolymerization, conversion
temperatures, @-temperatures, solubilities, solubility parameters, types of polymerization, graft and block polymers
(subheadings: production, properties), transfer constants,
statistics, methods for characterizing polymers (subheadings:
structure, molecular-weight distribution), etc. 2. Many
substances (monomers, polymers, auxiliaries, etc.) are
mentioned in many contributions, but then mostly in
different connections. Consequently, many searches for
specific information of certain substances will remain futile.
Hence, in order to find data on substances throughout the
whole work, a substance index would be very useful. 3. A
list of important technical terms in several languages would
be most helpful. Some readers will frequently encounter
translation difficulties, especially in the field of rheology, or
relative to mechanical properties and plastics processing.
Numerous clear structural formulas are given (in Equation 24
on p. 60 and at the foot of p. 735 there are errors in the
equations which d o not however change the sense); the
reproduction of the figures is good.
After perusal of the first volume, the reviewer feels that he
can recommend the work to those engaged in the field of
polymers.
0. Fuchs
[NB 390/248 IE]
Phospholipids. Chemistry, Metabolism and Function. By G. 3.
Ansell and H . M . Hawthorne. B. B. A. Library. Vol. 3.
Elsevier Publishing Co., Amsterdam-London-New York
1964. 1st edit., XI11 + 439 pp., 56 figs., 39 tables, linen
D M 61.50 (about $ 15.50).
In 14 chapters the authors give a really comprehensive survey
of the current status of our knowledge in the field of phosphatides. It was only the development of new synthetic and
analytical methods within about the past 15 years that made
it possible to achieve a more intimate knowledge of this class
of compounds, whose importance still cannot be fully
appreciated at present. This realization is expressed primarily
in the chapter on the theory of the functions of phosphatides,
which is relatively short,probablyfor this reason. However, the
authors give a detailed discussion of the structures of phosphatides and of analytical and preparative methods for their
identification and isolation. Finally, after all the known facts
about the biosynthesis and degradation of phosphatides are
presented, a description o f the phospholipids from individual
organs and tissues or subcellular components is given. It is a
moot point whether the father brief treatment given to the
interesting and characteristicfattyacids,especially thoseofglycerophosphatides, is justified or not. Here the authors were
undoubtedly led by the consideration that much has already
been written on this topic elsewhere.
Since both authors work on the experimental biochemistry of
phosphatides in animal organisms, they have restricted their
presentation to this field and have not included vegetable
lipids. This necessarily reduces the readership of the book.
However, since any such book was not hitherto available,
this new publication is particularly welcome and will therefore
be gratefully greeted by many biochemists, clinicians, and
other scientists.
Hitdegard Debzich
[NB 3691227 IE]
The Biosynthesis of Steroids, Terpenes, and Acetogenins. By
J . H . Richards and J. B. Hendrickson. Frontiers in Chemistry. Edited by R . Bredow and M. Karplus. W. A. Benjamin Inc.. New York-Amsterdam 1964. 1st edit., X
416 pp., a few figures and tables, linen S 20.35.
+
In this book, possible and established routes for the biosynthesis of two classes of natural products are described.
The first class comprises the acetogenins, which can, in
principle at least, be formed by head-to-tail condensation of
acetate units, with or without subsequent rearrangement or
Angew. Chem. interiiat. Edit.
Vol. 5 (1966)
1 No. I
substitution; this category includes fatty acids, flavonoids,
quinones, coumarins, xanthones, depsides, macrolides, etc.
The second class comprises the terpenes, which are acetate
derivatives arising via isopentenyl pyrophosphate.
There are twelve chapters dealing with the principles of
biogenetic theory, the construction of the acetate hypothesis,
a statistical survey of important natural products, the experimental verification of the acetate theory, the isoprene
unit, mono-, di-, sesqui-, and triterpenes, higher terpenoids.
the biosynthesis of cholesterol, and further transformations
of cholesterol. An impressive number of compounds are
treated (about 1000 acetogenins are listed in one appendix) and many references are givenr the list of
references is not always complete but mostly covers the
literature up to 1963.
The best features of the book are the large amount of
material it contains and the purely chemical approach
adopted in considering many of the biosynthetic steps
postiilated; its weaknesses become apparent when the
discussion turns t o enzymological data or hypotheses.
Probably any enzymologist consulted would have recommended deletion of the whole second chapter, for here much
is encountered to which objection must be taken. One can
read there, for example, that many natural products have no
o r only secondary importance in metabolism and it is
therefore reasonable to assume that for economic reasons the
cell uses as few reactions as possible for their production. It
is not always indicated clearly enough in the text and in
formula schemes what is speculation, hypothesis, or fact,
e . g . in the scheme for the synthesis of fatty acids on p. 130,
which has since been revised. This weakness applies especially
to the writing of biochemical reactions; when the stoichiometry of a reaction is known, it is desirable to include all the
panislpating species in writing the reaction, e . g . on p. 178:
C02 t (CH&C=CH-COSCoA
+
HOOC-CH~-C(CH+CH-COSCOA
By elimination of a few errors ( e . g . that the enzymes of the
fatty acid cycle do not react with S-acylcysteamines on p. 128)
or inaccuracies (e.g. in the scheme for the biosynthesis of
shikimic acid and its derivatives on pp. 20-21, steric formulae
are only occasionally used, and the formation of p-hydroxybenzoic acid without 5-phosphoshikimic acid as a n intermediate is highly improbable), the extraordinary value of this
book as a work of reference for the expert in this field will be
increased further. The quality of the volume is de luxe and
printing errors are few.
U.Henfling
[NB 391/249 IE]
Registered names, trademarks, etc. used in this journal, even without specific indication thereoL are not t o be considered unprotected by law.
Q 1966 by Verlag Chemie, GmbH. - Printed in Germany by Druckerei Winter, Heidelberg.
All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, e . g . by photoprint, microfilm. or any other means, without
written permission from the publishers.
Editorial Office: Ziegelhauser Landstrasse 35, D-69 Heidelberg, Germany, Telephone 24975, Telex 461 855 kemia d, Cable address: Chemieredaktion
Heidelberg.
Chief Editor: W . Foerst Editor: H . Grrinewuld.
Publishers : Verlag Chemie GmbH. (President Eduurd Kreurhuge), Pappelallee 3, Weinheim/Bergstr., Germany, and Academic Press Inc. (President
Walter J. Johnson), 111 Fifth Avenue, New York 3, N.Y., U.S.A., and Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W. 1, England.
Correspondence concerning advertisements should by addressed toVerlag Chmie, GmbH. (Advertising Manager W.Thiel), Pappelallee 3, WeinheimBergstr., Germany, Telephone Weinheim 3635, Telex 46 55 16 vchwh. Cable address: Chemieverlag Weinheimbergstr.
.
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit.
1 Vol. 5 (1966) 1 No. I
149
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