Adolf Friedrich Ludwig Strecker

Strecker, Adolf Friedrich Ludwig


Born Oct. 21, 1822, in Darmstadt; died Nov. 7, 1871, in Würzburg. German organic chemist.

Having studied under J. von Liebig, Strecker became a professor at the University of Christiania (now Oslo) in 1851. He became a professor at the University of Tübingen in 1860 and at the University of Würzburg in 1871.

Strecker’s principal works are devoted to the study and synthesis of compounds that occur in nature. In 1850 he developed the process known as the Strecker amino acid synthesis, a method for preparing α;-amino acids from aldehydes, hydrocyanic acid, and ammonia. He demonstrated that amino acids, when acted upon by nitrous acid, form hydroxy acids, and in 1851, together with N. N. Sokolov, he prepared glycolic acid from glycine; Strecker also produced lactic acid from alanine. In 1848 he extracted taurocholic acid and taurine from bile. In 1861 he became the first to prepare guanidine by the action of potassium chlorate and hydrochloric acid on guanine. In 1868, Strecker proposed a method for synthesizing the salts of alkanesulfonic acids by the alkylation (with alkyl halides) of sulfites; the process is known as the Strecker synthesis.