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High-Throughput Screening in Chemical Catalysis. Technologies Strategies and Applications. Edited by Alfred Hagemeyer Peter Strasser and Anthony F

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lished only in the last few years. Daniel N. Wilsons chapter deals with “Termination and Ribosomal Recycling”,
then Elisabeth S. Poole, Louise L.
Andrew G.
Wared P. Tate discuss the interesting
topic “Mechanism of Recoding in Proand Eukaryots”. Both these articles are
impressive for their up-to-dateness,
completeness, and careful scientific
In Chapter 11, Madina Isakova,
Sian R. Conell, and Knud H. Nierhaus
present a short discussion of the regulation of ribosome biosynthesis in E. Coli,
and re-evaluate most of the earlier work
in the light of the latest knowledge. The
volume ends with some new observations about the problem of protein folding and about chaperones (Chapter 12,
by Jean-Herv Alix), and an excellent
survey by Daniel N. Wilson of “Antibiotics and the Inhibition of Ribosome
Function” (Chapter 13), a topic on
which there has been a quantum leap
in understanding through new information obtained from cocrystal structures.
Wilson describes this very clearly with
the help of well-chosen figures.
Nierhaus and Wilson, as editors and
as authors of some chapters, have made
important contributions to the subject,
and their clever choice of competent
authors has resulted in a book that
works very well as a complete entity. It
can be recommended not only for scientists specializing in the field of protein
synthesis, but also as a standard work
of reference for the libraries of biochemical and molecular-biological departments or institutes. It will undoubtedly
be a companion over the coming years
for all students and scientists with interests in the subject of genome translation.
The figures are mainly of high quality and many use color, but unfortunately they have been reduced to such
an extent as to detract from their effectiveness and readability. The publishers
should also consider providing the figures and tables in a suitable computerreadable form.
Manfred Sprinzl
Laboratorium fr Biochemie
Universitt Bayreuth (Germany)
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 2182 – 2184
High-Throughput Screening in
Chemical Catalysis
Technologies, Strategies and Applications. Edited by
Alfred Hagemeyer,
Peter Strasser and
Anthony F. Volpe, Jr.. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2004.
319 pp., hardcover
E 139.00.—ISBN
Combinatorial chemistry and the concomitant development of high-throughput screening techniques and apparatus
have had a tremendous impact on pharmaceutical chemistry, and these techniques have become routine tools for the
discovery and optimization of novel
drugs. This success has stimulated the
application of similar high-throughput
experimentation (HTE) techniques to
other fields of chemical research, such
as materials science, and especially catalysis. Progress in this field is rapid,
and HTE in catalysis is no longer a
simple adaptation of established screening methods, but benefits from the
methodological and technical elaboration of concepts. This area of application
illustrates the fact that development of
HTE methods requires the combination
of sound chemical knowledge with the
means for technical realization.
One of the professional players in
this field is Symyx Technologies, a company founded in 1994. Three of their
chemists, Alfred Hagemeyer, Peter
Strasser, and Anthony F. Volpe, Jr.,
have edited a book entitled HighThroughput Screening in Chemical Catalysis. The contributions have been carefully chosen to reflect the variety of
aspects encountered in this interdisciplinary field at the interface of chemistry
and engineering. The authors of the
chapters use examples of existing work
to discuss theoretical aspects in the context of real screening protocols. Thus,
most of the chapters can be read as independent reviews or accounts.
The chemistry covered in this book
is mainly that of heterogeneous inorganic catalysts, in processes of current
or predicted industrial relevance. Only
two examples of homogeneous catalytic
processes are discussed: polymerization
and epoxidation. Thus, the focus of this
book is on concepts, techniques, and
hardware that have been developed
and applied to fast-screening workflows
in the field of heterogeneous inorganic
The opening chapter is by W. H.
Weinberg and H. W. Turner, two colleagues of the editors. They provide
the reader with an introduction to
HTE in catalysis, and present a model
for a strictly hierarchical workflow,
dividing catalyst discovery and optimization into three stages. The first stage
applies a primary screen, and is dedicated to rapid discovery of leads; in
this, precision can be traded for throughput in a rational way. Qualitative trends
are more important than precise data,
but “hits” identified at this stage
should be verified and optimized in a
subsequent secondary screen. Scale-up
experiments in miniature or pilot
plants start the tertiary phase, in which
precise kinetic data must be collected
in order to generate candidates for commercial development. Most of the techniques discussed in the following chapters belong to the primary screen,
where conventional methods are
simply not fast enough to successfully
tackle the vast number of experiments.
The secondary screen can be more like
conventional experimentation techniques, but benefits from a high degree
of parallelization and automation. This
model is referred to throughout the
book, and emphasizes the idea of HTE
as a technique that allows experimentation under severe time constraints.
The second chapter goes directly to
the heart of HTE, and carefully considers practical aspects such as catalyst
preparation, reactor design, parallel or
sequential protocols for experimentation, as well as product detection and
analysis. A strong emphasis is placed
on economic requirements, such as
speed of experimentation, use of robotic
units, and degree of automation.
The following chapters guide the
reader through several optimization
studies, in which wafer-based syntheses,
calcination, characterization of catalyst
libraries by X-ray diffraction, and welland chip-type reactors are discussed in
detail. Many helpful pictures illustrate
2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
the screening hardware and dimensions
involved. The chapters also describe
software tools for the processing and visualization of the large amount of data
Software can also be applied in the
earlier planning phase of experimentation. Chapter 6 covers the capabilities
of genetic algorithms, neural networks,
and other heuristic search algorithms,
and shows how HTE can be successfully
combined with mathematical optimization. The same topic has already been
introduced in less detail in the preceding
chapter, and is discussed again in Chapter 10, where optimization studies on
catalysts for epoxidation, isomerization
of light paraffins, water-gas shift, and
Selox processes (selective oxidation of
CO in the presence of hydrogen) are
The next chapters again deal with
screening equipment. The authors carefully assess the advantages of infrared
thermography and gas sensors for rapid
detection of catalytic activity, without
forgetting to discuss possible pitfalls.
Detailed case studies (CO oxidation,
propane oxidation, and catalytic NOx
removal) are discussed, with emphasis
on the need for rapid responses, possibilities for parallel experimentation, and
relatively low costs. Another contribution is devoted to the field of electrocatalysis and is exemplified in the design of
combinatorial thin-film libraries forming electrode arrays. Activity can be
measured by means of fluorescent dyes
that detect local pH changes, or even
more directly by an electrochemical
measurement using a multichannel
potentiostat. Noteworthy is a subchapter devoted to a titanium-catalyzed
homogeneous epoxidation. The authors
describe a parallel optimization study
for a silsesquioxane synthesis based on
hydrolytic condensation of organosilanes. These were shown to form stable
complexes with titanium, and can be
regarded as homogeneous model compounds for silica-supported titanium.
The book concludes with a review of
homogeneously catalyzed olefin polymerization. This summarizes in a concise way the requirements for HTE
with regard to planning, reactor design,
and screening workflow, and documents
the discovery and optimization of a new
catalyst family for ethylene-1-octene
In the Handbook of Combinatorial
Chemistry, published three years ago,
several researchers at Symyx Technologies contributed articles describing
their experiences in catalysis, process
development, and materials science.[1]
In the present work, their colleagues
A. Hagemeyer, P. Strasser, and A. F.
Volpe, Jr. have addressed the challenge
of editing a book devoted explicitly to
this aspect of combinatorial chemistry.
High-Throughput Screening in Chemical
Catalysis offers broad overviews, as well
as numerous detailed case studies to
2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
illustrate the theory discussed. The
intention of each chapter is clear, and
the layout is well done. The wealth of
graphical material and the inclusion of
information about experimentation
hardware emphasize the books main
topic: not the underlying chemistry
itself, but “Technologies, Strategies,
and Applications”, as the secondary
title suggests. However, the main title,
High-Throughput Screening in Chemical
Catalysis, is misleading, as the book is
limited to a rather narrow field, focusing
mainly on bulk chemical processes. It is
unfortunate that only a few examples
from homogeneous catalysis are discussed, and that enantioselective homogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis are
not included. Nevertheless, this book is
definitely very stimulating and informative for everyone interested in the topics
that are covered by the individual chapters.
Christian Markert
Department of Chemistry
University of Basel (Switzerland)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200385264
[1] Handbook of Combinatorial Chemistry:
Drugs, Catalysts, Materials (Eds.: K. C.
Nicolaou, R. Hanko, W. Hartwig),
Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 2182 – 2184
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anthony, application, strategia, high, alfred, chemical, screening, strasser, throughput, catalysing, edited, peter, hagemeyer, technologies
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