Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Review - Click Chemistry for Biotechnology and Materials Science by Joerg Lahann

Click chemistry as a concept has been received well enough in terms of ever-increasing publications. Applications mostly point to material sciences and biotechnology where beautiful examples were demonstrated (the topics of the book). On industrial level click chemistry has yet to offer anything practically important. Neither has it afforded much in pharmaceutical world which was initially targeted. Some small libraries and screening work have been published in search of enzyme inhibitors using click chemistry. It is possible that there is large body of work not disclosed by industry for IP reasons.

These should not deny the concept and some very good reactions hard to come by in organic chemists' eyes. Like anything else, there has to be a period in which theories, examples, commercial reagents are getting ready in place - and workers would doubt, hesitate, then start to try it out, overcome some difficulties, and finally like and adopt it. This will take much longer for intended biotechnology scientists than for professional chemists. The book comes in a very timely fashion and may help to significantly shorten this period.

The 411-page book has the traditional "Wiley-quality". Frontier research groups describe their own work in 16 loosely connected chapters and give a broad picture of "current" status of the application of click chemistry in two fields: biotechnology and material science. Expect 16 reviews or accounts in very recent time - perfect for one to survey and enter the field. Readers may find it useful in two ways. They may adopt the applications directly in their closely related work. Or they may be excited by the elegance of the chemistry and adopt the chemistries in their own fields. After all, it is a very, very good tool. Some readers may turn out to be interested in certain chapters, not the others, largely due to the nature of the chemistry as a tool and therefore the large scope it can be used. The index appears very thin and may be hard to use. The literature does not cover the patent world.

One would realize how fast the field is developing if I say that many significant progresses have already taken place since April 2009, the Preface date by the Editor Joerg Lahann. It is necessary to follow the most current publications in major journals to keep up with the field.

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