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Enantiomers in chemistry

  1. Apr 5, 2013 #1
    Hi everybody,

    I have a physics homework for Monday, and I don't understand a question very well :

    "Why are enantiomers very commonly met in organic chemistry and biochemistry but not so often in other parts of chemistry ?"

    I think I can answer the first part of the question without too much problem, but I have no idea how to explain why enantiomers are not used in the other parts of chemistry...

    In class, we talked about chirality, receptor molecules and drugs.

    So i think ennantiomers are commonly used in organic chemistry and biochemistry, because the 3D design of the molecules is very important in the way molecules will interact with the different receptors in the body, as we saw in the example of drugs.

    For the moment, i would say it's not so used in other parts of chemistry, because we don't study neither how the molecules interact with each other nor their bio properties, but we especially work on their concentrations in a reaction, the electrons which travels between molecules, the protons given in an acid/basis reaction, etc. (It's the only ideas which came up in my mind^^)

    If someone could help me answer this question please ! :)

    Ps : I'm a French student so if i made English mistakes, my bad, you can correct me too ^^

    Thanks.
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2013 #2

    AGNuke

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    Gold Member

    Simply because Organic chemistry generally deals with covalent bonding between C and various other atoms and thus, you know, that there arises the chances for chirality. And furthermore, this chirality affects the properties of the molecule by quite some extent, enough for them to be eligible for separate study. There is different properties to different enantiomers and that's why they are a common area for study.

    Chirality and enantiomerism gets all the more important in biochemistry because their an enantiomer means a plethora of difference. I suppose it even means the difference between medicine and poison.

    On the other hand, in inorganic, there is no relevance in studying the chirality of molecules as they do not "seem" to affect the properties of the molecule as per the study area of the inorganic chemistry.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2013 #3
    Thank you AGNuke :)
     
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