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Chemistry and Fate of Organophosphorus Compounds.

Chemistry and Fate of Organophosphorus Compounds. Vol 12 in Current Topics in Environmental and Toxicological Chemistry. E. Merian. R.W. Frei, J.F. Lawrence, and U.A.Th. Brinckman, eds. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, New York 209+ pp., US 43.00. This book contains a selection of presentations made at the Workshop on Chemistry and Fate of Organophosphorus Compounds held at the Free University, Amsterdam in June 1986. The articles have already been published in the International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry and Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry. In addition to a report from the workshop, there are 14 articles divided into toxicological and chemical aspects, and analytical aspects.

Organophosphorus compounds have a wide variety of uses, such as plasticizers, hydraulic fluids, heat transfer agents, corrosion inhibitors, fire retardants, pesticides, and nerve agents in chemical warfare. In the area of nerve agent chemistry, there are very good articles on the separation of enantiomers with different activities by gas chromatography with chiral stationary phases, and a demonstration of the influence of chirality of organophosphate esters on the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and "neuropathy target esterase (NTE)." Although the inhibition of AChE by organophosphorus compounds is fairly well known, it is not generally appreciated that such compounds can also induce a delayed polyneuropathy by acylation and subsequent modification of the structure of NTE. In the area of nerve agent chemistry there is also a brief review of classical detection methods and a discussion of future trends with microsensors and surface acoustic wave sensors.

In the area of pesticides there is a description of analytical methods for organophosphorus pesticides in food in Canada and an excellent demonstration of the use of laboratory microecosystems in assessing the aquatic persistence and fate of parathion. There are also articles on the photo-reduction of parathion on plant surfaces and the use of dialkylphosphorus degradation products of OP pesticides in urine as an indicator of exposure.

In the area of analytical chemistry there is an article on the determination of the mutagenic fire retardant tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate in various materials and two good articles on the coupling of microbore HPLC to a flame photometric detector and a thermionic detector. This latter work builds on that of McGuffin and Novotony in the early 1980s and has great potential in the determination of trace levels of contaminants which are not volatile enough to be determined by gas chromatography.

With the possible exception of the workshop report, this book is well edited for style and the references are reasonably up-to-date. This book would serve as a good introduction to organophosphorus chemistry at the level of the graduate student or professional from another discipline. R. James Maguire, Chief, Contaminants Project, Canada Centre for Inland Waters
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Author:Maguire, R. James
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Words:454
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