Guido Bargellini

Affiliations: 
University of Rome, Roma, Lazio, Italy 
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"Guido Bargellini"
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BARGELLINI , Guido . - He was born in Roccastrada (Grosseto) on December 28th. 1879 by Pilade, a physician conducted, and by Emma Pepi. He obtained a diploma in pharmacy from the University of Siena (1900) and a degree in chemistry in Rome (1902). After having been assistant in the general chemistry laboratory of the University of Siena (1902-1904), he worked in Berlin, in the institute of E. Fischer, the great organic chemist at that time dedicated to brilliant research on sugars and proteins.

Called to the chemical institute of the University of Rome, he was assistant to S. Cannizzaro, who directed him to the study of vegetable organic substances, and in particular of santonina, an anthelmintic contained in various species of Artemisia, which for over 50 years was the subject of intense study by various groups of chemists. Successor to Cannizzaro E. Paternò (1910), B. left his studies on santonina (whose structure was completely clarified only in 1930 by the English GR Clemo) and, under the impulse of the new master, conducted research on the substances of lichens and on the yellow dyes of the flowers: chalcones, flavones and fiavonoli, to which he had already dedicated himself previously. The discovery of the constitution of scutellarein (1914) and baicalein (1919), yellow dyes of plants, dates back to this period. In the study of scutellarin, and then of other similar compounds, B. exploited a chromatic reaction given by polyoxy-flavones with sodium amalgam, which various authors report as the Bargellini reaction. He synthesized dozens of new chalcones, flavones and flavonols, some of which were later found in nature by other researchers. Among the first he used catalytic hydrogenation for the study of natural organic substances and in particular for research on santonina and chalcones. During this period he also studied the structure of trimethoxy-phthalic acids. This study had considerable consequences, as the exact knowledge of these substances allowed the attribution of the formula of alkaloids such as columbamine and colchicine. He deepened the study of the chemistry of hydroquinone and tetraoxybenzenes, among other things by proposing a new method, the use of potassium persulfate, to introduce a hydroxyl into an aromatic ring where a phenolic group is already present. This method,which is a generfization of the reaction of K. Elbs, found wide application in organic chemistry.

During the First World War the B., recalled, devoted himself to the study of the fight against aggressive chemicals and that of explosives. In 1920 he was appointed extraordinary professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Sassari. In 1921 he passed to the same chair at the University of Siena, where he succeeded M. Betti. The researches on cumene derivatives, conducted here, constitute an example of methodology in organic chemistry and allowed to shed new light on the study of derivatives of this group of substances, in particular quinones.

In 1924 he took over from E. Paternò in the chair of organic chemistry in Rome. At various times he also held the teachings of industrial organic guitar and. war chemistry. His organic chemistry lessons were collected in a book which, in various editions and reductions, had a very wide circulation and was a very clear text for generations of chemists, pharmacists, biologists, naturalists, doctors and engineers.

The intense didactic activity and the numerous assignments entrusted to him did not prevent B. from continuing his scientific research.

His research on phenyl-coumarins is of particular interest. He had predicted since 1911 that phenyl-coumarins which, like chalcones and fiavoni, contain a system of 15 carbon atoms, should be found in nature. To corroborate this hypothesis he synthesized numerous phenyl-coumarins, with the aim of comparing them with natural substances of an undetermined structure. For this purpose he proposed a new synthesis of phenyl-coumarins, from ortho-oxy-arylketones and sodium phenylacetate ( Bargellini reaction ). The hypothesis of B. was confirmed only in 1957 with the discovery of dalbergina, a dioxy-phenylcoumarin present in the Indian plant Dalbergia sissoi . This substance had been synthesized by B. forty-six years earlier.

Several times he dealt with products of pharmaceutical and biological interest. For example, we recall some lichenic acids and derivatives of mercaptobenzothiazole, which have interesting antibacterial properties.

In 1950 the B., having reached age limits, left the chair, in which he was succeeded by L. Panizzi. But, tirelessly, he continued his research at the chemical institute of the University of Rome and at the Higher Institute of Health. He died in Rome on 23 Sept. 1963.

In the evolution of organic chemistry in Italy, B. represents the transition period between the classical era, personified by R. Piria, S. Cannizzaro and E. Patemò, and the more modern trends in organic chemistry, according to which, based on chemical-physical properties, an attempt is made to penetrate the inside of the reaction mechanisms. Suffice it to say that, alongside the classical works described above, he dealt with the influence of substituent groups on the orientation of new groups in the aromatic rings and, as soon as he graduated, he carried out, with L. Francesconi, interesting research on the relationships between fluorescence and chemical constitution. . Also ahead of his time, he dealt with the use of enzymes as chemical reactants.

Above all, however, he must be credited with having trained many Italian organic chemists, to whom he not only offered vast topics of work, but also gave a preparation which, although of an eminently classical type, was open to new views and techniques. latest.

The B. published (especially in the Rendíconti of the Accademia dei Lincei and in the Italian Chemical Journal ) about one hundred works. His are also various didactic volumes: Lessons of organic chemistry , Rome 1933; Elements of organic chemistry for engineering students , Rome 1935; Numerical exercises in organic chemistry , Rome 1936 ; Short course in organic chemistry for medical students , Rome 1937. To these must be added a course in war chemistry (lecture notes, Rome 1936) and a course in organic analysis (lecture notes, Rome 1945).

He collaborated on the second volume (organic chemistry) of E. Molinari 's Treatise on general and applied chemistry to industry (Milan 1927).

A complete collection of publications is at the Higher Institute of Health (Rome).


Bibl .: GB Marini-Bettòlo, Obituary , in Chemistry and Industry , XLV (1963), p. 1558.
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