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MCAT Biology Question — Carbon Reactions

  • by Kerry Goldstein
  • Mar 19, 2015
  • MCAT Biology, MCAT Blog, MCAT Question of the Day

In the Felkin model, a carbon which is originally achiral can undergo a reaction to generate a single enantiomer with 98% yield (with the remaining 2% generating the opposite enantiomer). This type of reaction is best described as:

A) Chiral chromatography

B) Racemization

C) Asymmetric induction

D) Unimolecular elimination

 

 

Explanation

A) Chiral chromatography

B) Racemization

C) Asymmetric induction

D) Unimolecular elimination

Asymmetric induction (or enantioinduction) is the process of turning a non-chiral carbon into a chiral carbon, with an end product that produces an asymmetric result – one enantiomer is vastly preferred over the other. Thus (C) is the best description.

A: Chromatography is the process of separating out components of mixture. The process described in the question doesn’t describe any separation.

B: Racemization is, in a sense, the opposite of what’s described in the question. A mixture which has one chiral form undergoes a reaction resulting in equal amounts of the two enantiomers – thereby turning an optically active mixture into an optically inactive racemic mixture.

D: The actual reaction mechanism is not discussed, so we have no reason to suspect that the Felkim model is based on an E1 reaction mechanism.


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