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February 2000
David Bradley Science Writer and Advanced Chemistry Development are proud to present the fourth issue of Reactive Reports, a new web-based Chemistry Magazine.
Reactive Reports from David Bradley Science Writer and Advanced Chemistry Development

Critical chemistryUK chemists have developed supercritical carbon dioxide as a clean reaction medium for the continuous formation of industrially important compounds such as ethers, acetals and ketals using solid acid catalysts.

Chemists thinking logically A molecular unit that carries out the computer logical function known as inhibit (INH) has been developed by UK and Irish chemists. The ultimate aim will be to link various units to produce a true molecular-based computer, which would be many times more powerful and faster than silicon-based devices.

Sperm tap A male contraceptive pill may only be a few years away, if research at the University of Leicester comes to fruitition.
Richard Evans, Catrin Pritchard and their colleagues at GlaxoWellcome and elsewhere have discovered a way of blocking the path of sperm from the testes, which could produce semen that is virtually sperm free without the need for an irreversible vasectomy. On the other hand, the control they have discovered could also be used to enhance the movement of sperm from the testes and so may have potential in male fertility treatment too.

Curry clue Delegates at an anticancer
meeting at the University of Leicester
in January learnt how a chemical
component of curry could one-day lead
to a new approach to designing drugs to treat cancer.
The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Pharmacology and Molecular Mechanisms Group - a researchers' network founded some 21 years ago heard from Andy Gescher how he and colleague Will Steward are investigating agents derived from our diets that have provided circumstantial evidence of anticancer activity - they either prevent or delay cancer formation in the first place or are active, like curcumin an ingredient of many curry mixes, in tumour suppression against established disease. 'At the moment we are focusing on how curcumin may exert tumour-suppressive activity and how patients may cope with it when they take it as a tablet (rather than a curry),' explains Gescher.

Seeking out scientists LabSeek.com has been launched to help researchers with a facilities deficit partner up with colleagues in more well-endowed laboratories so that equipment and resources laying idle can be utilised. The scheme is based on a database of member facilities with the equipment to lend and is accessible via a secure Web site by potential users looking for particular instrumentation and expertise.
LabSeek.com says it can match companies needing virtually any type of scientific measurement with the resources in laboratories capable of conducting those tests.
Web Distillates

Metabolic Pathways of Biochemistry

Mark's Chemistry Tutor

Martindale's The Reference Desk

Periodic Features

Special feature from Tony Williams and Vitaly Lashin on
'An Integrated Desktop Mass Spectroscopy Processing and Molecular Structure Management System'
The availability of mass spectrometry (MS) has certainly entered the hands of the masses. With decreasing costs and reduced footprints for the instrumentation and more intuitive software interfaces for chemists to utilize mass spectrometry in a walk-up laboratory environment, MS is now routinely available. Let us be clear that there are distinct differences between the applications of mass spectrometry made available to chemists and that performed by the professional spectroscopist. Continue...

ChemSketch interface
ACD/Labs' ChemSketch 4.0 received an excellent comparative review up against three other well-known chemistry drawing programs in December, by Tamas Gunda of L. Kossuth University in Hungary. To quote Dr Gunda, "...especially ChemSketch seem to be the most dynamically developed chemical drawing applications". ChemSketch is, of course, available for free download from the ACD site. Read now: "Chemical Drawing Programs The Comparison of ISIS/Draw, ChemDraw, ChemWindow, ChemSketch and Chemistry 4-D Draw"