From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Click Chemistry
Mains level : Read the attached story
Scientists Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on for discovering reactions that let molecules snap together to create desired compounds and that offer insight into cell biology.
What the scientists worked on?
- Sharpless came up with the term ‘Click Chemistry’ and worked extensively on it,
- Meldal came up with a special chemical structure called ‘Triazole’ which has many significant applications, and
- Bertozzi took the next step of developing click reactions that could work inside living organisms — ‘bioorthogonal’ reactions take place living systems without interfering with native biochemical processes.
What is Click Chemistry?
- Chemists often try to recreate complex chemical molecules found in nature, and this has applications, among other things, in the field of medicine – how to target and block pathogens in cells.
- However, this process can be complicated and time-consuming.
- Instead of trying to wrangle reluctant carbon atoms into reacting with each other, Barry Sharpless encouraged his colleagues to start with smaller molecules that already had a complete carbon frame.
- If chemists choose simple reactions – where there is a strong intrinsic drive for the molecules to bond together – they avoid many of the side reactions, with a minimal loss of material.
Applications of click chemistry
- Meldal through his experiments came up with the useful chemical structure called triazoles, whch are stable and are found in pharmaceuticals, dyes and agricultural chemicals.
- He also found that the reaction he used could bind together numerous different molecules.
- Bertozzi, using the work of Sharpless and Meldal, came up with an efficient and innovative method to map glycans, which are carbohydrate-based polymers made by all living organisms.