chapter  22
63 Pages

The syntheses of some naturally occurring compounds

BySir Richard Norman, J.M. Coxon

The syntheses have been selected on the basis that each product is of biological importance and that they illustrate the application of a wide variety of regio- and stereoselective methods, many of which are still undergoing development. Reserpine is found, with other alkaloids, in the roots of the plant genus Rauwolfia. Adenosine occurs naturally in a variety of derived forms each of which performs important functions. Chlorophyll is a dihydroporphyrin contained in plants and concerned in the photochemical process. The prostaglandins are a series of closely related hormones which are derivatives of 'prostanoic acid'. Ibogamine is an alkaloid in the oboga family which contains the clinically important antitumour alkaloid vinblastine. The success of the penicillins as antibiotics led to a search for related compounds, especially ones with a broader range of activity and which would be less easily defeated by the organisms which had developed resistance mechanisms to penicillins.