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Karrer, Paul

swiss chemistry vitamins zürich

[kar er] (1889–1971) Swiss organic chemist: best known for work on carotenoids and vitamins.

Karrer was born in Moscow. His father was a Swiss dentist and he returned with his parents to the Swiss countryside when he was 3; in 1908 he began to study chemistry at Zürich under . His DPhil work with him was in inorganic chemistry, and afterwards he worked with in Frankfurt on organo-arsenic compounds for use in chemotherapy. In 1919 he succeeded Werner and remained in Zürich thereafter, working on organic natural products of several kinds.

In 1926 he began work on natural pigments, concentrating on the carotenoids, which are complex molecules containing many C=C bonds and including lycopene (C40H56 , from tomatoes), the carotenes, the vitamins A1 and A2 and retinene, the light-sensitive pigment of the eye. In the 1930s his masterly studies of these closely related compounds revealed their structures, which he confirmed in many cases by synthesis (eg of vitamin A1,C20 H29OH, in 1931). He also worked on other vitamins (B2 and E), on alkaloids and on coenzymes. He shared a Nobel Prize in 1937 with W N Haworth (1883–1950) who, during a 23-year period as professor at Birmingham, did notable work on the chemistry of polysaccharides such as starch and cellulose, and on the synthesis of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Karzai, Hamid (1957–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY [next] [back] Karan, Donna

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