23. Introducing Students to NMR Methods Using Low-Field 1H NMR Spectroscopy to Determine the Structure and the Identity of Natural Amino Acids

Aleksandra Zivkovic, Jan Josef Bandolik, Alexander Jan Skerhut, Christina Coesfeld, Nenad Zivkovic, Miomir Raos, Holger Stark, Journal of Chemical Education, (2017), 94 (1), 115–120, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00168

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a widely used analytical technique for molecular structure determination, and is highly valued in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and medicinal chemistry. The importance of NMR methods in the European (PhEur) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is steadily growing. However, undergraduates often have problems becoming familiar with handling the complex data. We have developed a simple experiment in which undergraduates, who are learning 1H NMR spectroscopy for the first time, investigate natural amino acids, and determine their structure and identity using low-field 1H NMR measurements and simple COSY experiments. These students see and learn the connection between the chemical shift of the aC-proton and the isoelectric point of the amino acid. They engage with the spectroscopic topic by acquiring their own spectra, and processing and interpreting the data. Understanding important natural amino acids and their physicochemical character is highly relevant to all students studying life sciences.