Azidophenylalanine poses explosion risk
May07

Azidophenylalanine poses explosion risk

From C&EN a few weeks ago: Azidophenylalanine poses explosion risk, written by Carmen Drahl The unnatural amino acid 4-azido-l-phenylalanine (shown, left) carries an explosion risk, a new study shows (J. Org. Chem. 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00270). The azide group isn’t found in biology, which makes it handy for attaching probes to biomolecules. The amino acid is expensive, however, so postdoctoral researcher Mark B. Richardson, professor Gregory A. Weiss, and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, developed a cost-effective synthesis. “We found this explosion risk entirely by accident,” Richardson says. Organic chemists are wary of azides, so the team used differential scanning calorimetry to watch the decomposition profile of all the intermediates in the copper-catalyzed reaction they used to build the molecule. The intermediates, some of which they worried would be problematic, turned out to be safe. But azidophenylalanine, included in the study for completeness’s sake, behaved like an explosive compound. To minimize risks, labs should avoid storing crystalline samples of azidophenylalanine for extended periods, Richardson says. Protecting the amine removes the explosion risk and is a good prestorage strategy. Biochemistry labs should consider keeping all stocks of azidophenylalanine in dilute aqueous solution, he adds. Sometimes people become complacent about risky functional groups, he says. “The fact that we didn’t see this coming speaks...

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Tuesday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA
Mar20

Tuesday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA

Today at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans: CHAS: Water Supply Safety 9:00 AM Grand Salon D Sec 21, Hilton New Orleans Riverside Introductory Remarks Waukesha water: Bridging the divide Laboratory safety is impacted by changes in water quality Iron as an indicator of water system corrosion and compromised disinfection: Argument for regulating iron and small system corrosion control Lessons learned from the Elk and Dan River disasters: Enhancing science support for water resource protection and crisis communication in spill-incident response Computational chemistry support for water resource protection: Developing rapid and accurate computational methods to predict physical properties for environmental fate and toxicity modelling Panel Discussion Also notable: CINF sessions on chemical information literacy, morning and afternoon in River Bend 1, New Orleans Marriott Convention Center. Teaching students how to identify good chemical information is key to supporting them to work...

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Monday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA
Mar19

Monday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA

Today at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans: CINF: Community Sharing of Chemical Safety Data: Yes, No, Maybe? 8:20 AM River Bend 1, New Orleans Marriott Convention Center What’s all this fuss about data sharing? In search of improved laboratory safety Promoting safety culture through sharing – a Dow perspective Chemical and laboratory safety: The role of scholarly publishers Chemical safety data in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics Safety sharing culture: Learning from the aviation industry Intermission Information/practice sharing forums among American Chemistry Council Member Companies Experiences with learning experience reports Balancing act: Protecting all interests Parsing the “lessons learned” space: Layers of opportunities and challenges Panel Discussion (yours truly will help moderate) Not in New Orleans? Join me for Safety Zone Live via Facebook to discuss the morning session with organizer Carmen Nitsche, who’s been working with the Pistoia Alliance to build the Chemical Safety Library. CHAS: Implementing ACS Safety Education Guidelines 1:30 PM Grand Salon D Sec 21, Hilton New Orleans Riverside Introductory Remarks The ACS safety culture journey: What next? Building the safety learning spiral One slice at a time: Do what you can whenever you can Developing a culture of safety in chemistry and biochemistry at Texas Woman’s University Intermission Importance of laboratory safety in chemistry curriculum Withdrawn RAMPing up the organic chemistry lab at a PUI: Developing a culture of safety and...

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Sunday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA
Mar18

Sunday #chemsafety at #ACSNOLA

Today at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans: Integrating Research & Safety 1:30 PM Grand Salon D Sec 21, Hilton New Orleans Riverside The psychology of developing a positive chemical safety culture in academic research labs Survey of chemist exposure to VOCs from solvent cabinets Study of safer storage and handling of graphene oxide Effectiveness of laser safety eyewear under real-world conditions Safety at the bench: Promoting positive safety culture in academic laboratories Ask Dr. Safety: Integrating research and safety Workshop: Developing Graduate Student Leadership Skills in Lab Safety 3:00 PM Magnolia Room, Hilton Garden Inn Convention...

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Coming soon to a smartphone near you: Goggles, lab coat, and fire extinguisher
Feb13

Coming soon to a smartphone near you: Goggles, lab coat, and fire extinguisher

Some time ago, my brilliant C&EN colleague Jessica Morrison hatched a plan to develop emoji for chemists. With the help of Yang Ku and Sam Lemonick, chemoji were born. And later this year, they’ll become part of the standard set–along with a few other science items, redheaded and curly-haired people, superheroes and heroines, and yarn. Want our original set of images? You can download them here. At least one school is using them on fume hoods–the faces are cut in half and pasted on the frame and sash; aligning the smile puts the sash at the correct height. (Where has the Safety Zone been, you ask? First there was Grappling with graduate student mental health and suicide, then Confronting sexual harassment in chemistry. Those stories were followed by a promotion to C&EN’s executive editor for policy. New editor responsibilities included managing Top headlines of 2017 and U.S. policy outlook for 2018, plus assorted other things to learn. I still have the safety beat, though, and one of my goals for this quarter is to get the Safety Zone going...

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