15 Jul 2014

The relevance of Transition Metal-Carbon Bonds in Biology and Chemistry

Lab Experiment

Submitted by Emilly Obuya, Russell Sage College

The students will write a paper in which they analyze the Vitamin B12 co-enzyme from biological, chemical and biochemical perspectives, and will use the guided questions to help show the relevance of an organometallic chemistry experiment to real biochemical systems. This activity is based on a synthetic lab experiment that students would have performed on transition metal-carbon bonds in biology and chemistry (The lab experiment was adapted from third edition of “Inorganic Experiments” by Derek Woollins). The answers to the set of questions in this LO will help guide the students to write the paper. You can choose the style you want the students to use and guide them in that process. 

Students can use information from their lab report, especially the experimental and results/discussion sections. 


Learning Goals: 

Students will…

  • Study the chemical structure of vitamin B12 coenzyme and discuss the advantages and/or disadvantages of using cobaloximes as model compounds for vitamin B12 co-enzyme in this experiment.
  • Analyze the chemical reactions they performed in the lab that modelled actual reactions that occur in the human body, and discuss the effects of such chemical transformations. 
Implementation Notes: 

This term paper is based on a lab experiment that the students did earlier in the semester. I taught the lecture and lab portions concurrently so the students were very familiar with the experiment. They had a one paragraph summary of the lab experiment and a procedure to follow with guided questions to help them write the lab report. They submitted the lab report with the usual experiments, observations, results, discussion and conclusion and received lab credit that was separate from the credit assigned for this activity.


Time Required: 
Possibly as a take home assignment due within a week
Evaluation Methods: 

I make this activity worth 5% of their overall grade to be assessed for originality and level of discussion of how the chemistry part of their lab experiments (in terms of metal-ligand bonding or non-bonding) affected a biological system. Their ability to understand vitamin B12 and its functioning in the body should become apparent in their paper and should be used as the main guide in point distribution.

Evaluation Results: 

Has not been tested yet

Creative Commons License: 
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