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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 3

One-pot pyridines

Chemists at the University of York, UK, have found an efficient new route for preparing a useful class of organic compounds. Steven Raw and Richard Taylor have developed a simple route to prepare highly-substituted pyridines in a 'one-pot' procedure rather than the more usual four-step 'two-pot' procedure. The process gives good yields and is applicable to the synthesis of a variety of substituted pyridines.

No more smells

Chemists from the Kyoto Pharmaceutical University in Japan have developed odourless alternatives to thiols and sulfides for the industrially important Corey-Kim and Swern oxidations (conversion of alcohols to aldehydes and ketones). As well as eliminating the unpleasant aroma traditionally associated with these reactions, the odour-free reagents prepared by Kiyoharu Nishide and Manabu Node and colleagues are easily made, relatively cheap and easily retrieved by work-up with water.

Bog butter

Analytical scientists from the universities of Bristol, Keele and Edinburgh, UK, have discovered a way to determine the origin of 'bog butter', a white waxy substance found in peat bogs in Scotland and Ireland. Bog butters are thought to have formed when bog-land communities buried fatty food substances hundreds of years ago, possibly for preservation purposes. Richard Evershed and colleagues have analysed nine samples of bog butter, concluding that two-thirds of them are derived from dairy products; the remainder being of animal-fat origin.

Acid rain and stressed fish

Stressed-out fish hold a clue to the environmental impact of acid rain. Norwegian researchers have monitored salmon in two rivers. Deposits of aluminium on their gills make the fish stressed, a phenomenon that can be tracked by measuring their blood glucose levels. Just how much aluminium is deposited is related to the pH of the water, which in turn is governed by other environmental factors. The work shows what impact the addition of lime to water sources might have on stabilising acidity of the water in fish catchment areas.

Essential Elements

We have lift off!

We have lift off!

Research Highlights

Tracking down ecstasy

Artificial intelligence used in drug detective work.

New tool for the combinatorial toolbox

Colour-changing resin makes it easy to see amines being removed from solution.

Polymer LED for use in hospitals

A lab-on-a-chip device could cut hospital waiting times.

An icy atmosphere

CO3 could be the key to formation of interstellar ices.

Recognising radioactive potential

Sorting out which radioactive isotope of an element can be used.

Building up to a new HIV vaccine

An anti-HIV vaccine may be closer thanks to a new approach to vaccine design that is being developed.

Probing plant defences

Canadian scientists have identified precursors to the hormones responsible for the natural defence of oilseed rape and other economically important cruciferous plants, and vegetabl...

Pores for thought

Tailoring porous materials to combine several properties within the same solid has moved a step closer.

Cellular origami for a cancer cure

The first successful synthesis of an antibiotic with antitumour properties has been achieved by UK researchers.

Keeping a lid on food contamination

A European team of scientists has established the source of semicarbazide contamination in jars of food.

Evaporating acids are the key to life

The evaporation of serine clusters might have been involved in the early processes of life on earth according to researchers from Purdue University, US.