Samstag, 14. Februar 2015

Historical Development of the Synthesis of Vanillin

Heute für Chemiker mit Interesse für Wilhelm im angloamerikanischen Raum:

Wilhelm Haarmann and Ferdinand Tiemann made breakthrough discoveries in the field of vanillin synthesis.
This process involves oxidizing coniferin, the glucoside of coniferyl alcohol, by potassium dichromate.
The structure of vanillin was determined by Haarmann and Tiemann. 
In a brilliant fashion they converted vanillin into protocatechuic acid, an already known substance. 
Erlenmeyer and Tiemann reported the synthesis of vanillin from eugenol and Reimer reported its preparation from guaiacol.

In 1874, W. Haarmann set up a factory in his home town, Holzminden, to produce synthetic vanillin. This company can be referred to as the worldwide oldest factory of perfumes.
The synthetic production of vanillin was very profitable in the 19th century as the product was more expensive than gold with between 7 and 9 marks per gram.
The process was very labor-intensive. First, coniferin had to be produced. 5000 freshly felled spruce trees had to be processed to obtain 20 kg of coniferin, which was the amount required to produce 7 kg of vanillin (output in 1875). 

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