Stereochemistry

Stereochemistry is the study of the spatial arrangement of atoms in molecules and the effect thereof on the bulk properties and reactions of chemical compounds. In chemistry, Stereochemical principles have become useful tools for determining the structures and for revealing the details of chemical and biochemical reaction pathways. Stereochemistry is a special concern in the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, and drug development as well. On a molecular level, nearly all biochemical processes involve the spatial recognition of one molecule by another, and such recognition serves as the means by which energy structures are built.

As early as 1823, Friedrich Wohler and Jusfus Liebig recognized that two chemical compounds might have the same elemental composition yet differ in the order in which the atoms were linked together. It was widely believed, until almost the end of the 1800s, that these criteria alone were enough to define completely a chemical compound. In 1848, however, the French scientist Louis Pasteur showed conclusively that two compound could have the same order of linkage of individual atoms yet differ in certain of their physical and chemical properties. He laboriously obtained two forms of tartaric acid (a substance derived from wine) by handpicking differently shaped crystals from a mixture. These tow atoms, although identical in many aspects, behave differently toward Polarized Light and only one of them could be used as a medium  to grow molds. Arbitrarily, the molecule that rotates a beam of polarized light counterclockwise is termed Levorotatory (L), and the one rotating light clock wise, dextrorotatory (D).

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