Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique method creates correct mirror image of molecule

22.05.2013
Many molecules have a right and a left form, just like shoes.

In pharmaceuticals, it is important that the correct form of the molecule is used. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have been able to produce the one mirror image by using crystals with special properties. This can have a major impact on the production of pharmaceuticals.


Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have been able to produce the one mirror image by using crystals with special properties. This can have a major impact on the production of pharmaceuticals. Photo: Susanne Olsson

Molecules that are the same, but mirror images are called chiral after the Greek word for hand.

The mirror image forms of chiral molecules have identical properties except when they interact with other chiral molecules, sort of like the left shoe fitting the left foot better than the right shoe.

Our bodies contain chiral molecules, such as amino acids in proteins and sugar molecules in our genetic material. But in all living organisms, only one of the two mirror image forms is used.
"Why it is like this is a mystery to the scientific community, but this is of major significance, to the production of pharmaceuticals for instance," says Susanne Olsson at the Department for Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg.

The mirror images can have different effects in our bodies where one can provide the desired effect while the other in the worst case can give rise to serious side effects.

"Today, all new pharmaceuticals must contain only the mirror image form with the desired effect. But when a chiral molecule is produced in a laboratory, equal amounts of the two mirror images are obtained," says Susanne Olsson.

To-date, the active mirror image form has been produced by adding a mirror image form of another substance. The problem is then that this substance must be separated from the pharmaceutical.
Being able to produce the desired mirror image form without having to add mirror image forms of some other substances is considered by some chemists to be impossible.

"But by using compounds where the mirror image molecules switch between being the right form and the left form, I have succeeded in getting all crystals to contain only the one mirror image. I have thereby done the impossible, produced only the one mirror image form without using any other substance," says Susanne Olsson.

She believes that the method is industrially usable since crystallisation is a process that is good for large-scale production.

Link to the dissertation: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/32316

Supervisor: Professor Mikael Håkansson

Contact: Susanne Olsson, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg,
mobile phone +46 0709 609 757
susanneol@hotmail.com

Annika Koldenius | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>