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In practice, these simpler pieces are commercially available in bulk and semi-bulk quantites, and are often petrochemical precursors. Sometimes bulk natural products (e.g. sugars) are used as starting materials and it is assumed that these have or can be synthesised from their constituent elements. The target molecules can be natural products, medicinally important active ingredients, or organic compounds of theoretical interest in chemistry or biology. A new route for synthesis is developed in the course of the investigation, and the route may be the first one to be developed for the substance.
Today, total syntheses is often justified as a playground for the development of new chemical reactions and routes, and highlight the sophistication of modern synthetic organic chemistry. Sometimes total synthesis inspires the development of novel mechanisms, catalysts, or techniques. Finally since a total synthesis project will often span a variety of reactions, it serves to prepare chemists for pursuits is process chemistry, where encyclopedic knowledge of chemical reactions and a strong and accurate sense of chemical intuition are necessary.
Classical examples are the total syntheses of cholesterol, cortisone, strychnine, lysergic acid, reserpine, chlorophyll, colchicine, vitamin B12 and prostaglandin F-2a by the Nobel Prize winner Robert Burns Woodward between 1945 and 1976. Another classic is quinine total synthesis that has a history spanning 150 years. In some cases the structures of the molecules assigned by spectroscopic methods have been shown to be wrong, when synthesised.
Elias James Corey won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1990 for lifetime achievement in total synthesis and the development of retrosynthetic analysis. In 2005 the group of Corey published an Aflatoxin total synthesis and in 2006 an oseltamivir total synthesis.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Total_synthesis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|