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MIT unraveling secrets of red tide
Date:8/30/2007

t for organic reactions, so most laboratory reactions are performed in organic solvents. However, when Vilotijevic introduced water into the reaction, he noticed that it proceeded much more quickly and selectively.

Although it could be a coincidence that these cascades work best in water and that dinoflagellates are marine organisms, water may nevertheless be directly involved in the biosynthesis of the toxins or emulating an important part of it, said Jamison. Because of this result, the researchers now believe that organic chemists should routinely try certain reactions in water as well as organic solvents.

The research was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, and MIT.

"This is an elegant piece of work with multiple levels of impact," said John Schwab, who manages organic chemistry research for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "Not only will it allow chemists to synthesize this important class of complex molecules much more easily, but it also provides key insights into how nature may make these same molecules. This is terrific bang for the taxpayers' buck!"


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Contact: Patti Richards
prichards@mit.edu
617-253-8923
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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