Chemical Synthesis

(redirected from Synthetic chemistry)
Also found in: Medical.

chemical synthesis

[′kem·i·kəl ′sin·thə·səs]
The formation of one chemical compound from another.

Synthesis, Chemical


the planned production of complex compounds from simpler compounds based on a knowledge of the reactants’ chemical structure and reactivity. Chemical synthesis usually implies a sequence of several chemical processes (steps).

In the early period in the development of chemistry, chemical synthesis was carried out mainly for inorganic compounds and was fortuitous in nature. The synthetic production of complex substances became possible only after knowledge had been gained on the composition and properties of the substances, knowledge derived from the development of organic and physi-cochemical analysis. Of cardinal importance were the first syntheses of organic compounds, namely, oxalic acid and urea, by F. Wôhler in 1824 and 1828. Attempts to synthesize analogues of complex natural compounds in the mid-19th century, when a unified theory on the structure of organic compounds did not exist, indicated only the possibility, in principle, of synthesizing such compounds as fats (P. E. M. Berthelot) and carbohydrates (A. M. Butlerov). Indigo, camphor, and other relatively simple compounds were subsequently synthesized in accordance with a theory, as were more complex molecules, such as certain carbohydrates, amino acids, and peptides.

In the 1920’s, the work of R. Robinson on the preparation of a series of complex molecules by paths that imitated those governing the formation of the molecules in nature proved to be of seminal importance to the methodology of chemical synthesis. A rapid development of chemical synthesis began in the late 1930’s, first in the area of steroids, alkaloids, and vitamins and then in the area of isoprenoids, antibiotics, polysaccharides, peptides, and nucleic acids. R. B. Woodward made significant contributions to the development of fine organic synthesis in the 1940’s through 1960’s, carrying out the synthesis of a series of important natural compounds, including quinine, cortisone, chlorophyll, tetracycline, and vitamin B,2. An example of the great advance in chemical synthesis is seen in the first complete synthesis of the gene of the alanine transfer-ribonucleic acid of yeast, which was carried out in 1970 by H. G. Khorana and his colleagues.

The development of organic synthesis is proceeding in a number of directions. One of these involves the production of industrially important products (polymers, synthetic fuels, dyes), another the preparation of various physiologically active substances for medicine, agriculture, food processing, and perfumery. A third branch is concerned with establishing the structure of complex natural compounds and obtaining molecules with unusual structures for testing and refining theories of organic chemistry. A fourth branch seeks to expand the number of reactions and methods that can be used in chemical synthesis. Included in this category is the use of catalysts and high energies and the broader use of microorganisms and purified enzymes under rigidly controlled conditions. In the 1970’s, computers have been used for optimizing the results of multi-step chemical syntheses.

The development and perfection of certain methods used in synthesis has permitted the preparation of many important chemical products on an industrial scale. In inorganic chemistry, these products include nitric acid, ammonia, sulfuric acid, sodium carbonate, and various coordination compounds. There is also large-scale production of the organic substances used in various branches of the chemical industry, as well as of the products of fine organic synthesis (hormones, vitamins).


Reutov, O. A. Organicheskii sintez, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1954.
Perspektivy razvitiia organicheskoi khimii. Edited by A. Todd. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English and German.)
Cram, D., and G. Hammond. Organicheskaia khimiia. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from English.)


References in periodicals archive ?
The entire top floor of the North Wing has been designed as a single synthetic chemistry lab that will accommodate 17 researchers.
For its part, the university had agreed to use one-quarter of the licensing revenue it has made on his invention to build a laboratory for synthetic chemistry.
This technology has already been applied to a wide range of qualitative and quantitative applications, including analyses of food, drugs, explosives, chemical weapons agents, synthetic chemistry, medical compounds, forensics samples, and environmental materials.
Entrepreneurs returning from the West are starting pharmaceutical and research companies, particularly in the areas of medicinal chemistry, synthetic chemistry and clinical research Two to five months can be shaved off Phase I trails in China, and clinical trials can cost 40%-60% less.
WuXi PharmaTech offers global pharmaceutical/bio-pharmaceutical companies diverse outsourcing services in combinatorial, medicinal, synthetic chemistry and manufacturing.
Spelman College, Atlanta, GA, celebrated the grand opening of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Synthetic Chemistry Research Laboratory in the school's new state-of-the-art Albro Falconer Manley Science Center.
A new building at Bristol University, the Synthetic Chemistry Laboratory, has a Levolux brise-soleil system set within recessed bays with extensive glazing on the south elevation.
It gave him good training in synthetic chemistry training and the ability to relate chemical structure to desired performance.
Krall, whose other passion is chemistry, has done research on the AIDS virus and plans to study synthetic chemistry at Oxford.
ISI recently integrated nearly 150 years of additional synthetic chemistry to Reaction Center.
This sitewide solution currently features Reaction Center, the reaction database that focuses on novel synthetic chemistry and provides diverse coverage of new reaction information published in the worldwide journal and patent literature.
The Japanese Federation of Synthetic Chemistry Workers Union (SCWU), with 86,000 members from chemical and pharmaceutical companies, and the All Japan Chemistry Workers Union (JCWU), comprising some 10,000 workers, decided recently at separate regular meetings to merge to become the Japanese Federation of Chemistry Workers' Unions, the members said.

Full browser ?