Organic reactions in water

Organic reactions in water 

U Marcus Lindstr?m Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing | 2007 | 424pp | ?99.50 (HB) | ISBN 9781405138901 

Reviewed by Niek Buurma

Few organic chemists think of water as a solvent, which is an unfortunate state of affairs. Since the early 1980s, the ’mysteries’ of the ultimate non-toxic, non-flammable, and cheap solvent have been unravelled and water’s frequent beneficial properties for organic reactions are more appreciated. These are the developments described in Organic reactions in water.

Marcus Lindstrom has done a great job in getting some of the ’household names’ in aqueous chemistry to contribute chapters to this overview of a range of aspects of organic reactions in water. Each contributing author has provided an overview of developments centred on their own expertise. The resulting highly informative chapters reflect characteristic personal styles, are generally well organised and can be read individually. 

The book as a whole forms an excellent reference work covering many aspects of water as a solvent, including its molecular and bulk properties, its use on an industrial scale and in biocatalysis, its effect on different reaction types as a solvent (both under standard and near-critical conditions) and even the recent development of ’on water’ chemistry. All chapters include plenty of references to the original literature, and an index of organic reactions in water provides recent literature references to act as starting points for extended literature searches. 

A minor, though recurring nuisance is the number of typos, formatting errors and sub-standard quality of some of the figures and schemes - these feel incompatible with the price of the book. In addition, the rather diverse styles used by different contributing authors give the individual chapters a rather non-uniform feel. 

These minor nuisances cannot distract, however, from the content of Organic reactions in water, which will prove highly useful for those interested in one or more aspects of organic chemistry in water.