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Die Pflanzen-Alkaloide

Nature volume 63, pages 486487 (21 March 1901) | Download Citation



THE progress that has been made in the rapidly developing fields of organic chemistry can be best estimated when recognised authorities, such as the authors of the present volume, furnish chemists with special monographs dealing with those groups of compounds in which the writers can lay claim to an expert knowledge. As a class the vegetable alkaloids, which are dealt with in this volume, are of exceptional interest, not only on account of their wide distribution as natural products, but also because of their remarkable physiological actions. It is interesting to note, in reading through this admirable summary of the existing state of knowledge in this branch of chemistry, what great strides have been made towards a more definite conception of the structure or “constitution” of the molecules of these compounds within the last few years. At the present time, the synthetical achievements in this field are not numerous. The first complete synthesis of an alkaloid was that of coniine by Ladenburg in 1886, followed soon after by the synthesis of trigonelline by Hantzsch and Jahns. The latter chemist succeeded in synthesising arecoline in 1891, and the synthesis of piperine from piperidine and piperic acid by Ladenburg and Scholtz in 1894 may be said to complete the list of total syntheses thus far accomplished. But several partial syntheses have to be recorded, viz; aconitine from aconine and methyl benzoate, cocaine from ecgonine and benzoic anhydride; and one step towards the synthesis of hydrastine was made in 1895 by Fritsch.

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