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Book Review Vitamine. Chemie and Biochemie (Vitamins. Chemistry and Biochemistry). Edited by J. Fragner translated from the Czech by E

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Vitamine. Chemie and Biochemie (Vitamins. Chemistry and
Biochemistry). Edited by J. Fragner, translated from the
Czech by E. Hachovu. Vol. 11. VEB Gustav Fischer Verlag,
Jena 1965. 1st German ed., 770 pp., 33 figures, 83 tables,
bound DM 78.20 (ca. $20).
The second volume of the handbook on vitamins is now
available in a German translation 111. It contains contributions
by 26 authors on the following vitamins: folic acid, inositol,
K vitamins, lipoic acid, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid,
pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, tocopherol, and less-known
exogenous factors. This volume also contains the full index.
The subdivision of the individual chapters is the same as in
the first volume, and the translation is generally better. The
second volume contains 6027 literature references and 608
patent references, though the literature unfortunately is
covered only up to about 1961.
This volume is again overloaded with facts or hypotheses
that are now only of historic interest, and laborious searching
is required in order to find the important facts. It is not
clear, for example, why seven pages and a two-page table are
devoted t o a description of all known vitamin B6 syntheses,
even though only one of these is used industrially.
Owing to its adherence to the historical development, the
text is often confusing. ThuT it says on page 1123: “As was
shown by Calvin and co-workers, lipoic acid plays an important part in photosynthesis, i.e. that of an electron
acceptor in the transformation of the electromagnetic light
energy into chemical energy”. This is followed on the next
page by“. . the current hypotheses are mere assumptions in
Calvin’s view, so that the question of the participation of
lipoic acid in photosynthesis still remains unanswered”.
On page 1120 it is stated that “Reed and de Busk showed, by
paper chromatography, that lipoic acid forms a biologically
active conjugate with thiamine or thiamine phosphate, which
they called lipothiamide”. The next page then states: “The
biological importance of lipothiamide. . .was subsequently
also disputed by the author of the original idea”. The really
important bonding of lipoic acid to the &-amino group of
lysine, on the other hand, is dismissed in a single sentence.
The book also contains numerous errors and inaccuracies.
Page 1080 gives an incorrect full-page scheme for the biosynthesis of the K vitamins. The methylnaphthoquinone
6 units,
skeleton is not formed by the combination of two c
but from a single carbon chain. The formula of tyrosine is
given instead of phenylalanine on page 1078. On pages 1414
and 1415, lumichrome is confused with 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine. The authors explain the function of the pyridine
nucleotides in redox reactions with the following sentence.
“In principle, this involves the reduction of the pentavalent
nitrogen in the pyridine nucleus to the trivalent state and its
reoxidation”. Coenzyme 111, which was shelved a long time
ago, is mentioned in several places.
The present work cannot be recommended as a textbook.
On the other hand, as a reasonably-priced reference work
and as a handbook for the specialist, it offers a wealth of
H . Grisebach
[NB 519 IE]
[l] Cf. Angew. Chem. 77, 1046 (1965); Angew. Chern. internat.
Edit. 4 , 1000 (1965).
Guide to the Analysis of Pesticide Residues. Edited by H . P .
Burchfield and D . E. Johnson. U.S. Department of Health,
Education. and Welfare: Public Health Service. Bureau of
State Services (Environmental Health), Office of Pesticides,
Washington 1965. 2nd Edit., Vols. 1 and 2, loose-leaf,
total 584 sheets, 24 illustrations, 26 tables, together $ 12.75.
Many analytical methods have been developed in recent
years, particularly in the USA, for the isolation and identification of even trace amounts of the toxicologically most impor-
tant pesticide residues in water, soil, foods, or body fluids.
However, the results of different laboratories can be appraised
only if the analyses are carried out by comparable methods.
The present work therefore presents mainly standard procedures for the detection of residues of insecticidal chlorohydrocarbons, phosphates, and thiophosphates and of herbicidal
chlorophenoxycarboxylic acids, which are to be used exclusively in investigations for the Public Health Service. The
emphasis is on methods that permit simultaneously rapid
and reliable detection of several pesticides in a single operation.
The individual stages of the analytical procedure are discussed in turn. Procedures are given first for the extraction of
samples, then for the removal c f interfering substances from
the extract. The residues are identified and quantitatively
determined almost exclusively by paper and thin-layer chromatography and by gas chromatography with an electroncapture detector or with microcoulometric recording; IR
spectrography is used to confirm Lhe results. Several variants
of one operation are given. The substances for which each
procedure‘ is suitable and the conditions under which it can
be used are indicated; from these data, the analyst can compile the best analytical procedure for his own purposes. The
work also contains IR spectra of numerous reference substances and extensive lists of chemical names, trade names,
and properties of the most common pesticides.
Only a few laboratories in Europe are engaged in analyses of
this nature. This collection of established methods could
contribute substantially to the introduction, in a short time,
of more stringent supervision of pesticide residues here on
the basis of experience in the USA. Though the work presupposes a certain familiarity with the problems of residue analysis, it helps to avoid extensive and costly preparatory work.
H.-P. Thier
[NB 538 IE]
Laboratoriumstechnik fur Biochemiker (Laboratory Techniques for Biochemists). Edited by B. Keil and Z . sorrnovri.
Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Geest & Portig, Leipzig
1965. 1st edit., 925 pp., 341 figs., 120 tables, bound D M
83.50 (about $20.-).
A series of books exists devoted especially to work in the biochemical laboratory, yet there is no general laboratory handbook, apart from the comprehensive volumes of “HoppeSeyler/Thierfelder” or “Methods in Enzymology”.
The present book, published in 1965, is a translation of one
that appeared in Prague in 1959. Although some additional
rere;ences have been introduced into several of the chapters,
many of thc chapters have been taken over into the German
edition without revision, with the result that the literature
is covered only up to the middle of the 1950’s. For instance,
in chapters XV and XVI, which present a tabular review of
the preparative methods and physicoehemical constants for
proteins, less than 1 % of the referenoxcited (4 citations out
of a total of 1112!) are dated later than 1955. The table giving
the composition of proteins IS )also ten years old; and the
table of buffers makes no mention of the tsis buffer that is so
commonly used today.
In the general section,.rnnstituting about a third of the whole,
the basic techniques are discussed fn‘ detail, but the description of the physibochemical methods provides orientation
rather than a direct introduction. The specialized section contains many chapters written comprehensively and with great
expertise, e. g. the sections on biochemical preparations by
the editors. As stated in the preface, emphasis is on proteins and nucleic acids throughout. In any new edition
it would be advisable to equalize the treatment for all fields,
even if some of them are of less immediate importance, and
even perhaps with sacrifice of the tabulated reviews that belong preferably to a handbook.
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. 1 Vol. 5 (1966)
No. 12
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chemistry, biochemie, translator, vitamins, book, chemie, edited, fragner, biochemistry, review, czech
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