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Investigation of the Redox Chemistry of Anthraquinone Derivatives Using Density Functional Theory

J. Phys. Chem. A - 9 September, 2014 - 14:57

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The Journal of Physical Chemistry ADOI: 10.1021/jp5060777

An In Situ Directing Group Strategy for Chiral Anion Phase-Transfer Fluorination of Allylic Alcohols

J. Am. Chem. Soc. - 9 September, 2014 - 13:28

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Journal of the American Chemical SocietyDOI: 10.1021/ja507468u

Charging of Multiple Interacting Particles by Contact Electrification

J. Am. Chem. Soc. - 9 September, 2014 - 13:23

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Journal of the American Chemical SocietyDOI: 10.1021/ja506830p

Gate-Induced Carrier Delocalization in Quantum Dot Field Effect Transistors

Nanoletters - 9 September, 2014 - 13:19

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Nano LettersDOI: 10.1021/nl5029655

Graphene Nanopore with a Self-Integrated Optical Antenna

Nanoletters - 9 September, 2014 - 13:18

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Nano LettersDOI: 10.1021/nl503159d

Funding for fiction’s favourite poison

Chemistry World blog (RSC) - 9 September, 2014 - 12:46

‘As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite.’ – Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J. K. Rowling

In Harry Potter’s very first potions lesson he learnt about the magical properties of aconite. Muggle chemists, it seems, are only one step behind the magical world.


Aconitine – spelt slightly differently by scientists – has a highly complex structure that has never before been synthesised in the lab. But now, Duncan Gill from the University of Huddersfield, UK, has been awarded a £133,481 grant to develop a synthetic route to obtain this illusive molecule.

Attempts to make aconitine began after Czech chemist Karel Wiesner revealed its chemical structure in 1959. Weisner went on to publish several papers on the synthesis of alkaloids and terpenoids, an important initial step towards making the molecule. However, it wasn’t until last year that a major milestone was reached, when a team of researchers from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, announced the total synthesis of the related compound, neofinaconitine. Building on the work of his predecessors, Gill will have to develop new chemical methods to reach his target molecule.

If successful, Gill, who has previously worked as a process chemist at AstraZeneca, will need to be particularly careful when handling this compound. Aconitine is a potent neurotoxin and has been dubbed the ‘Queen of poisons’. One of the most notable references to aconitine comes from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: it is the main ingredient in the toxic potion drunk by Romeo with fatal consequences.

The grant has been provided by the Leverhulme Trust and will be enough to employ a full-time post-doctoral advisor. Only time will tell if they can bring this fictional favourite to life in a laboratory setting.

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Categories: Education

Synthesis of a Class of Core-Modified Aza-BODIPY Derivatives

J. Org. Chem. - 9 September, 2014 - 12:36

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The Journal of Organic ChemistryDOI: 10.1021/jo501863t

Vacuum-Assisted Layer-by-Layer Nanocomposites for Self-Standing 3D Mesoporous Electrodes

Chem. Mat. - 9 September, 2014 - 12:31

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Chemistry of MaterialsDOI: 10.1021/cm502328h

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