Green reaction media in organic synthesis

Green reaction media in organic synthesis 
Koichi Mikami 
Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing | 2005 | 187 pp | ?85 (HB) | ISBN 140513402x 
Reviewed by Andrew West

Green chemistry is receiving much attention thanks to a growing interest in environmentally friendly research, and a number of textbooks on the subject have been published recently. Green reaction media in organic synthesis is the latest edition to give an overview of alternative solvents and is aimed at synthetic organic chemists and students taking undergraduate courses in the area. 

After a brief introduction, organic chemistry in ionic liquids, perfluorocarbon solvents and supercritical carbon dioxide is studied in individual chapters. In each chapter, a historical background is given, followed by the state-of-the-art in current research. Brief experimental sections then provide illustrations of potential applications and some synthetic information. 

The book contains many useful tables of data; researchers in the area of fluorous chemistry will find the partition coefficient tables particularly handy. However, as an introductory text to green reaction media, it falls short of its target. While the reader is promised sufficient information will be given to select the most appropriate reaction medium for a reaction, little comparison is actually made between the alternative solvents. The experimental details provided at the end of each chapter are also of questionable value, with vital analytical data missing and no reference numbers are provided. 

While an expert in their respective field has written each chapter, a lack of continuity is evident throughout. For example, the chapter on ionic liquids examines their future uses, but this discussion is omitted from subsequent chapters. Each chapter also provides a repetitive overview of why alternative solvents are necessary and important. 

In summary, this book adds little to the literature already available discussing green reaction media. While the summarised data and impressive reference lists will be useful for specialist users, the interested non-specialist would be better off choosing a more comparative and cohesive text with a broader overview of the uses of green solvents.